When a song gets stuck in our heads, it can be maddening. No matter where we go or what we do, its melody is there to greet us, unrepentantly playing on repeat over and over in our mind. Whether we like the song or not becomes irrelevant as we get lost in the millions of tiny working gears that stir its tone around in our consciousness, and for some people it ruins a piece of material that they once looked to for an emotional release. Though I’ve been in music journalism for the bulk of my career, I still find myself occasionally susceptible to this scenario, most often with songs that I loathe with every inch of my being. Recently after listening to Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite’s debut record Canyon Diablo, I couldn’t help but notice I was humming some of its most spirited harmonies in the shower, on my way to work and even while lying in bed trying to get some shuteye. Normally I’d have gone insane long before I ever penned a commentary on an album as affective as this one, but what made this situation so different was that not only did I not mind the songs coursing through my brain endlessly, I caught myself playing them on my stereo everyday as if I were listening to them for the first time.
Each one of the opulent tracks in Canyon Diablo introduces us to a different layer in Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite’s brawny persona, and none of them remind me of any other artist that I’ve heard in their genre. “Strange Intuition” and “All This Madness” alone would make this record worth purchasing for anybody who loves sleekly constructed pop music, but the band wasn’t content to give us only a couple of gold nuggets to fawn over in their debut. Instead all ten of these songs are superstars that could be singles in their own right, balancing gentle folk melodies with monumental rock n’ roll menacing. There’s an acerbic undertow that pays homage to the band’s punk rock roots, but it doesn’t anguish in the way that other alternative records tend to.
I would recommend that anyone who picks up a copy of Canyon Diablo play it as it was always intended to be heard – chronologically and without any interruptions from external entities. If you listen closely enough to these songs, you’ll hear the remnants of a monastic orchestra playing in the background. Every song here is an exercise in gritty pop experimentation, but you don’t have to be an expert on music nor the fine arts to appreciate how stately and reverent its content is. I give this album and the musicians behind its inception all the praise in the world for having the courage to make something as devoted to sonic wonderment as they have without coming off as holier than thou. It’s an awesome way to start their professional journey, and ten years from now I think it will be considered one of the most important releases of its time.