The Meridians aren't pushing something experimental, or novel, or horribly in vogue. But neither are they playing music that harkens to something old enough to be considered classic. What they do is simple: straight-ahead '90s-style guitar rock.
Frontwoman Erin Dragan, a Pitt student, is supported in The Meridians by three other students: guitarist Josh Momper, bassist Phil Norbeck and drummer Chad Purnell. While Dragan provides the strong lead vocals, the whole band supplies harmonies. Their first full-length, Heavy Silver, was self-released last month.
Young nostalgia and restlessness are motifs in Dragan's songwriting; the poetry major clearly puts work into setting scenes and exploring scenarios. The result is greater lyrical depth without sacrificing the accessibility of feel-good rock. Her deep contralto, which implies a maturity beyond her years, conveys the words confidently.
Occasionally, but rarely, the feel is dangerously close to cliché. ("The Neighborhood" could potentially fit into an Applebee's commercial.) And there are times on the record that the band's influences show through, especially Fleetwood Mac and the Gin Blossoms -- "Days of Dust" holds a sprinkling of "Gold Dust Woman," and one might wonder whether "Washington Road" intersects at some point with "Allison Road."
On the whole, however, Heavy Silver is this: a solid record of straightforward rock by promising young locals. It doesn't push the envelope or test boundaries -- perhaps that's still to come from this band. For now, a well-played and well-engineered recording of decently sensible rock songs is enough to ask, and that's precisely what's been delivered.
The Meridians with Six Days of Rain and I Am the Lost Sea. 9 p.m. Sat., March 22. Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4212 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. 412-682-8611