Mealtime – ‘Aperitif’ EP review: a pick-and-mix party bag packed with genre-hopping pop

The Manchester six-piece are intent on giving a big middle finger up to the status quo with their debut EP

Ever wanted to know what Foals and Katy B going to a new-rave club night together might sound like? Then look no further than ‘Rain Like This’, the first song on Manchester six-piece Mealtime’s debut EP ‘Aperitif’. Meshing industrial noise-pop with glittering, math rock rhythms and harsh electronica, it’s perfectly organised chaos.

Formed in Manchester after meeting through mutual pals, the local music scene and at university, Mealtime have established a knack for creating futuristic, genre-splicing songs like ‘Rain Like This’. ‘Aperitif’, their first extended release, is full of them, and sees the group fuse together elements of Y2K pop, hip-hop, jangling indie, thumping dance music and whatever else they might fancy. It’s a pick-and-mix bag of treats that flits between raucous unpredictability and radio-friendly tunes, united by earworm hooks and a generous coating of crunchy, PC Music-flecked production.

‘Denim’, the band’s debut single, is a lilting slice of indietronica that evokes Glass Animals or Phoenix, while ‘Teef’ sees woozy Wolf Alice-style melodies combine with ominous beats and wonky synth lines. But it’s when Mealtime fully embrace the weird and wild sides of their production style that they’re at their best: with its hazy synths, vocoded vocals and crackling beats, ‘S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ is the sort of song that makes you want to start a mosh pit at a rave. A shimmering chunk of house-tinted avant-pop, it’s crying out to be played at 3AM at your first post-lockdown house party.

They can do pure pop, too. ‘Excess’, with beats borrowed from Timbaland and sherbet-laced hooks, takes the fizzing energy that’s imbued in the band’s experimental sound and turns it into an unadulterated smasher.

While it can feel like there’s been an uncontrollable amount of tweaking in the crafting of their songs, ‘Aperitif’ is still an exciting taste of what Mealtime have got to offer. With a propensity to craft killer choruses and give a big middle finger up to the status quo, the Manchester collective have created a debut EP that’s jam-packed with joy. It’s just a crying shame that we won’t be able to dance to it at festivals this summer.


Release date: June 26

Record label: Lab Records


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