"I have a friend whose dad came to see our show, and later, he called and asked why it was necessary for us to play so loud. I guess we gave him tinnitus in one ear," confesses Terrica Kleinknecht about her band. She's the drummer for Pom Pom Meltdown, a local trio with a reputation for being rather loud, at least with the "dads-of-friends" set. But do the friends feel the need to shield their eardrums, as well? "I have contemplated bringing lots of industrial strength earplugs to our shows," Terrica confirms.
Formed last year when bassist Haley Weiner and guitarist Winner recruited Terrica for their band, I can attest that Pom Pom Meltdown is a loud band. But wait! That's not their only redeeming quality. Pom Pom Meltdown plays a unique measuring of fantastically complex drums and punk guitars, moody, emotive vocals, conscious lyrics, and a healthy dose of short metal solos (short, except for their frigging awesome twelve-minute epic metal song, that is). Their influences come from all around, with songs ranging from screamo and punk to metal and even hold your breath a little prog. But then, it's hard to not seem kind of metal when someone's playing a five-string bass, and the guitarist is going off on crazy solos on her Ibanez and switching pedals like a maniac, while the kickass drummer's face turns red as she pelts out beats that rock with seasoned complexity.
Terrica, who doubles as a professional drum teacher, explains, "For me personally, I feel like most songs we write end up sounding weird after I add my part to them. I don't know what it is. I guess I've always had a hard time just playing a straight drumbeat. I think in some ways my influence keeps things from being straight-up rock." True; there's nothing straightforward about a Pom Pom Meltdown song and, with many changes and progressions, the music's all over the map. It's not perfect, to be sure--PPM seem like they're still refining their song structure--but for such a new band, and each of them being such awesome musicians, it's really exhilarating to see the amount of energy and impressive creative ideas they put out.
The way Haley describes their songwriting is simple: "I always sort of think about trying to balance pop with dissonance; Terrica and I are big Metallica fans." To confirm that each member brings a unique influence to Pom Pom Meltdown, Winner dryly counters, "I think I'm just sucking us down into the emo realm."
To clarify, though, PPM's lyrics aren't self-absorbed or whining; they're actually very conscious about extending meaning. Haley says, "I've been trying to enunciate our lyrics more; I want people to hear what we're saying. We talk about being queer, about being anti-racist, about how knowledge is transferred, and how it's always subjective--that there's not anything objective about the stuff that we're fed, about just being critical and conscious of why we know what we know " Winner finishes, " and being a myth reader instead of a myth consumer."
Also, the PPM ladies align this objective with the actual act of playing music. "Language is really tainted with bias, so a good way to get things across are tone and music. Even if people can't understand lyrics, they can understand sound," says Haley. "A lot of times in life, there's no outlet for feelings and emotions, and you can't always say the things that are running through your head. With music, you can--and it's constructive instead of destructive."
(Except maybe for your hearing, so bring earplugs.)