Both the man, and his namesake label Meteosound—an imprint renowned for experimental explorations of dub and reggae—were incorporated into the Shitkatapult label family mid-decade, but Meteo was (and remains) the least conspicuous of Shitkatapult's three owners, alongside the punk spikiness of T.Raumschmiere, and the emo sensitivity of Apparat. Accordingly, Meteo releases like the Beat of the Heart EP have been typically hard to pin down, hinting that Meteo's eventual album follow-up could head off any direction.
The inspired piano-led looseness of Beat of the Heart's standout track, "Guitars," was paired with the robotic precision and digital symmetry of the lesser "Beat of the Heart." That the latter track opens Working Class, and the former is absent, indicates the approach that Meteo has embraced on this new long player. Adopting a more straightforward approach to club music and house in particular, Working Class seems to struggle to find the spark of inspiration that has impressed so much of Meteo's previous work. The aforementioned "Beat of the Heart" turns and turns at right angles around in a tightly constructed square, with layer upon layer of skipping, looped notes. Even with the endlessly array of elements forming a sweet digital harmony, though, it retains an over-worked edge of harshness.
The album's standouts occur as and when Meteo's core influences seep through, and he embraces simplicity of execution. The dub house of "Grace" possesses little variation, but its three-note bassline and metronomic beat are hypnotic. The title track steps slowly, heavily and with an irresistible groove. "Signals" unexpectedly employs shafts of synth sunlight and a brooding ambience, but it's over almost as quickly as it has begun.
The album's obvious breakout track, "In the Mood for Love," is perfectly competent in its genre of sampled-vocal dance floor house, but it's so functional that it's almost completely anonymous. Abe Duque managed to inject some acid-fuelled drama into his 12-inch remix. But it would have been great to see Meteo himself dismantling and reassembling this track in a different order, with some extra flavour to boot, because it's what we've come to expect. Meteo has proven himself to be one of Berlin's most underrated and consistently creative minds this decade. So while Working Class may fall short of expectations, I'll put my money on this being a momentary blip in an otherwise solid musical career.