A have to preface this review for Croydon three-piece Press To Meco by admitting I’m not a fan of progressive rock and metal. Once in a fit of extreme generosity I bought a Steve Hogarth era Marillion album. Haven’t played it in 20 years. So if you’re a fan of the band and are expecting an expert analysis of their sound, critiquing it along genre lines and comparing it to their peers you’re out of luck. I did recently listen to the new TesseracT album, on the back of a very impressive review on this very site, but I’m afraid I find them to inhabit a bewildering and very alien planet. Anyway, that said, let’s press on…
What strikes you first upon hearing title and lead track “Affinity” is how very youthful sounding the band are. All three members (Luke Caley, Adam Roffey and Lewis Williams) handle the clean, pure vocals and they sound like there’s not been a single Benson & Hedges behind the bike sheds between them. The soaring voices intertwine to hint at melodic grandeur and then the time changes kick in and after only 60 seconds were deep in prog metal territory. The Jon Anderson-lite style vocals are offset by surprisingly heavy crunch of guitars of Luke Caley and the track is actually too short to fully show off the bands chops.
‘Wasting Time’ again mixes a clean poppy feel with complexity and surprises by sounding like a cross between Linkin Park and Everything Everything. In fact, the unexpected similarity with the angular, indie RnB of Everything Everything resurfaces on the hand claps of ‘Honesty’ and the powerful harmonising on the bridge on ‘Love and Reason’.
All five songs on this EP bounce along on a similar set of tempos, and not one really distinguishes itself from any other. And yet there are moments of excitement. The best of these, perhaps unsurprisingly, are when the band get down to some seriously caustic riffing, usually at the end of a tune. The closing Deftones-style tear up at the end of ‘Love and Reason’ had me pricking my ears up and getting air guitar tuned only for it to fade out far too soon.
This is fairly commercial slab of progressive rock. It’s not daunting or particularly difficult listen to but for me, rock music has to engage my groin as well as my brain. The fundamental issue I have with prog metal is the complete lack of swing. A steadfast refusal of it’s roots in the blues and rock n’roll. “Affinity” is a pleasant enough listen, but pleasant is not a word in my personal rock lexicon.