The word “catchy” is weird – I think it describes an ability. A catchy song does something a non-catchy song can’t? I call a song catchy, and that’s usually the final frontier in so far as descriptors go. Like, more than anything, catchy feels like a way of saying, “I felt a quickness in compatibility with those sounds.” But there’s usually not much more to say. It feels like the word is actually just signposting the most basic musical reflexes, reflexes so basic they’re unnoticed and hard to describe other than: “I like when people drum like that,” or “I like when people sing/talk/yell like that.” Catchy is confidential the same way thoughts are confidential, coded and untranslatable.

Meat Market‘s Dig Deep came out last week, a full length album from the Oakland band, but they’ve been playing a lot of these songs around the Bay (and country) for what seems like the last year or so. Only reason I know is because they’re what I think are catchy. They also released a music video for “World.”

There’s a directness to everything I know about Meat Market. They play fast rock and roll. Wound-up tight, punctual stuff. A thing about Meat Market that’s hard to say about most bands: you can, at pretty much all times, mentally isolate the parts, the vocals, both guitars, bass and drums. They don’t do much to mask or manipulate what they’re working with. It seems like they do the opposite. Their instruments enunciate in a way that implies a lot of practice. This is apparent in their live set too. They play sharply, a strain of punk intent on impact and clarity.

So it’s strange that I have such a hard time pinpointing why I like this band, this album. Everything about them seems opposite to trickery, and that’s probably why I’m hung up. I think I’m guilty of a tendency that Dig Deep made me realize: when I don’t know a band’s intentions (dicey word, I know, but bear with me) it gets complicated trying to cipher their intentions, and I make weird logical leaps, and the end result is me assuming their intentions are as complicating as me trying to figure them out (if that doesn’t make any sense trust me when I say that only furthers what my point was supposed to be). Honest is a word that comes to mind when I think about their sound, which will probably be thought of as a cheesy word, and that’s why I think Meat Market are important to listen to.

Something I know I like about Meat Market, and about Dig Deep, is their seemingly effortless ability to churn out melodies. The melodies have affectional range to ’em, but I think I like most when they fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, not happy not sad, exactly neither. “Hole II” is a good example of what I’m thinking about. It’s a song they’ve been playing live for a minute, and it always gets stuck in my head. Just checking in, and it’s about that time to draw ahead 

[a head?] and mark some kind of line. That’s the first line, and the lines that follow change lyrically, but the melody stays the same. The melody is simple, and it’s kind of distant, and it’s kind of bummed out but it feels good to sing too, all of which seem hard to do simultaneously. Sung like a mantra. It comes back and it comes back, more familiar again, easier and quicker to sing and feel — a small scale model for Meat Market as a whole.