(Youth Conspiracy Records)
A side project for Max Stern, frontman of Cleveland punk band Signals Midwest, as well as his younger brother Jake, Meridian ditches the punk rock for a folk-y sound, something they explored on their 2012 debut Aging Truths, an album that Stern refers to as a "bedroom project." With its follow-up, the band has made a fuller sounding album. You can hear bits of banjo in the jubilant title track and in the ballad "6 to Spring St." Piano makes its way into the elegant "Logic & Mathematics." Other highlights include "Ten Extra Seconds," a song distinguished by its tender vocals, and "Gabriel," a carefully crafted tune that sounds like it could be a Weezer tune. Fans of bands such as the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons will like the band's roots rock approach here. And these guys are such good songwriters, those comparisons aren't out of line.
Meridian performs with All Dogs, Runaway Brother and Dead Leaves at 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22, at the Grog Shop.