Review by James Buckey
Cleveland indie alt-rock duo MESSMAKER have dropped their single “We are the Architects” firmly at the tail-end of the summer, where nostalgia is easy to grab onto and roll around in. While pop artists like Harry Styles still dominate the charts, and alt-rock heavyweights like Panic! At the Disco are unveiling their latest projects, undoubtedly Summer 22’ has been packed with mainstream icons adding to their catalogs. Even still, MESSMAKER finds a comfortable space to settle in with “We are the Architects” giving us both a song that pings the simplicity of a fond memory, as well as, a memorable rhythm and melody that will help resonate its current time and place down the road.
Piloted by singer and guitarist Michael McFarland and fueled by drummer and backup vocalist Freja McNeal, MESSMAKER has a refined, refreshing, and bright mood to their music, putting it fully on display with “We are the Architects”. The steadiness of the high-hat play between kick and snare gives the lyrics a lot of room to resonate. Vocally Michael doesn’t lean on a buffet of production, giving the song a timeless feel with lyrics like “Not lacking purpose, we’re just lacking direction”. All considered, that doesn’t leave “We are the Architects” with a DIY or dated sound. The offbeat guitar throughout the verses drives your head into a nod through what is a respectfully mastered and mixed bop.
Ohio is a far cry from the alt-pop sensibilities of a Los Angeles, but the power-duo dynamic that has worked for acts like Twenty One Pilots and The Black Keys seems to be a product of the drinking water, as MESSMAKER cakewalk along defined genre lines to make music that is listenable to almost anyone at any time. Still, you can’t help but feel that lyrics like “Lincoln Logs, Lego blocks, cardboard tubes, rewind the clocks”, breathe an anthemic draft of fresh, bright, clairvoyant air into the season-changing playlists it’s sure to find its way into.