Meet Me @ The Altar represent the very best of pop punk in 2021
Vicky Greer
11:00 16th August 2021

For years, when we thought of pop-punk we pictured one kind of band: three to four young white men singing about how they hate their hometown. It certainly does the job, but pop-punk is in dire need of a change. Enter Meet Me @ The Altar – three young women of colour breaking through in an industry that has not always made space for them.

Their new six-song EP is substantial, and it never feels rushed. They perform with striking nuance, capturing a portrait of the modern burdens that young people face. And yet, every note is fuelled with joy. In an industry where lo-fi reigns supreme, Meet Me @ The Altar are here to wake you up.

Edith Johnson is a shining star on the EP with her inimitable vocals. You can expect to see comparisons with Hayley with every female-fronted pop-punk band. But Johnson is her own artist with her own style. She has such a unique way of singing lyrics like “I've been holding my breath/ To keep in all that's left/ I should be hurting/ But I can't feel a thing” with unbridled joy. Such lines would be expected to go with a cold sound to match. On the contrary: Meet Me @ The Altar perform with a comforting warmth. 

Her vocals are matched perfectly by the hard work put in by guitarist/bassist Téa Campbell and drummer Ada Juarez. Juarez is at the heart of every track, glorious on the drums. Campbell is a potent guitarist, particularly on ‘Brighter Days (Are Before Us)’ and ‘Now Or Never’, two tracks that are just begging for a mosh pit.

Throughout the short record, there are exciting musical twists: the retro-gaming sounds that open the EP, stripped back and silent moments that catch you off guard and reject the typical three-chord traits of the genre. These aren’t your standard power chord rock songs. Their technical prowess is what makes Meet Me @ The Altar one of the best in the scene.

As well as a powerful new EP, what Meet Me @ The Altar are doing will have effects for years to come. Not only does their music inspire you to start a band with your friends, as Fueled By Ramen’s first all-female Black and Latinx band, they’re actively making the scene a better place in making their voices hear.

Pop-punk nostalgia is having a big moment. Up until now, we’ve seen a lot of massive stars like Machine Gun Kelly, Olivia Rodrigo and WILLOW experiment with pop-punk, either by dipping their toes into the genre or diving in headfirst. In the background, though, you have bands like Meet Me @ The Altar that take it back to its roots of jamming with a trio of friends.

With their new Model Citizen EP, it’s clear that they won’t be in the background for very long. Model Citizen is a powerhouse EP, showing a clear progression from their previous work and the work they’ve put into developing their sound. On this record, Meet Me @ The Altar represent the very best of pop punk in 2021.

Model Citizen is out now.

Photo: Press