Mermaidens - Perfect Body

by Mark Steele Rating:8 Release Date:2017-08-04

Wellington's three-piece post-punk psychers Mermaidens bring in a second album, Perfect Body, which seemingly portrays a slightly more contained introspection, a possible phase further of experimenting with their craft.  The beginnings of the title-track submerge us with doldrum-infused, high-end, minor guitar arpeggios, keeping an icy suspension present throughout. The neat and creeping bass writhes around a steady paced, cavernous, yet dense snare and toms pattern; at times reminiscent of a lesser-charged Alice In Chains fronted by Jim Morrison. This murky depth allows the breathy vocals to speak right into your vulnerable consciousness. Perfect Body is a melodic mixture made into a rope bridge of sedated grunge, trudging slowly through darkened shoegaze, and melancholic Britpop.

The grumpy shuffle on “Sunstone” grafts in smatterings of chamber pop meets femme fatale screeching. Grating buzz saw guitar powering over the galloping assault carries the high range utterances, then descends into a grunge gritty, eastern odd-beat, akin to a Hindu bhajan, breaking down as the rich harmonies escort the track to its close. 

There is a hypnotic draw from the band's combination of musical tension, releasing ecstatic moments within their songs, which displays itself as a refined, yet rugged co-dependency, as heard via the vocal harmonies of bassist Lily West and guitarist Gussie Larkin on top of “Lizard,” with its creeping grinding guitars and stomping drums.

The trippy monastic chanting of "I keep my mind slow" at the forefront of “Mind Slow” seduces with a loop of guitars and drums tinged with a cosmic folky potency. When joined by the faster paced “Give It Up,” conjures a reference to those sultry psych-kinetic sirens, Warpaint.

The lady-of-the-lake allure of “Smothering Possession” contains Cobain-esque acoustic strumming, coated in warm fuzz. A confident statement is the flexible “Satsuma,” delivers a shifting set of energies, mystical vocals, and edging forward. Drummer Abe Hollingsworth’s break-beat loop matches the guitar's tenacity in providing a discordant funk groove.

There is definitely more to surface from the deep of the Mermaidens’ Perfect Body. It possesses a playful intelligence revising some well-known formulas to construct a new, encapsulating entity.

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