Album Review: Deleter - Meaningless Chants

The morning after the 2016 Presidential election, before I had to be at work, I went for a walk around our neighborhood. Rather than opting to walk in complete silence as I attempted to make sense of my confusion over the election’s outcome, I grabbed my iPod, and I put on Fugazi’s 13 Songs because if anything, we need post-punk now, more than ever.

Perhaps Minneapolis’ own Deleter understand that.

Following up the band’s Oblique Seasons, released at the tail end of 2015, the post-punk outfit has returned with the Meaningless Chants EP, a blistering, breathless set of six politically slanted songs that do their best to capture the unnerving feelings and pent up aggression all of us are carrying around close to our chests.

From the first snare hit of the EP’s opening track, “Underachieved,” to power chord chugging that drives the final moments of  “Start to Watch,” Meaningless Chants is nearly unrelenting in its energy, only giving some minor reprieve after the effort’s halfway point, the slow burning and shuffling “Head Removed From The Helmet.”

All the elements of classic 1980s and 1990s pop-infused post-punk are present and accounted for on Meaningless Chants—same as they were on Oblique Seasons; however, here, the “populist pop” elements are a lot less obvious. Sure, yes, some of the songs are incredibly catchy, and boast shout along refrains, but there is a serious shadow looming over these songs—perhaps it has to do with the political climate we find ourselves in right now.

A song like “Motivation” may make you want to pump your fist or jump up and down in time with the rhythm, but I stop short of calling Meaningless Chants a “fun” record to listen to. At first glance it seems that way, but just below the surface lurks the real nature and visceral urgency of this material.

 Meaningless Chants doesn’t overstay its welcome—the shortest of its songs is just over a minute; the longest is slightly over three minutes—it’s around long enough to grab your attention. Through the herky jerky, spastic rhythms of the genre, Deleter have made a collection of songs that is both by the times, and for the times as well.

Meaningless Chants is out on Saturday via Land Ski Records.