Review by Hannah Kessler, of Quim Smashers
Mermaidens: Perfect Body (LP)
Out now on Bandcamp
Mermaidens are a New Zealand-based three-piece band. They describe themselves as post-punk, and their style has definite shoe-gaze influences. My initial impression of them was that they were effectively combining soft grunge with a darker undertone.
When I started to play this album on Bandcamp, I was at once struck by the great technical skill. The title track, ‘Perfect Body’, begins with a twangy, nostalgic guitar line, which collides with a moody bassline, in an almost atonal flavour, reminiscent of free jazz. This kind of dark and complex rhythm continues throughout the album. It forms a beautiful contrast with the lead singer’s understated and restrained vocals. She manages to convey a lot of power and feeling with her voice without raising it, commanding the aural space with great skill.
The songs, when listened to in order, flow into one another. They create an atmosphere perfect for long walks, meditation or work. The seemingly continuous drumming feels like a heart-beat keeping the flesh of each song alive. The repetitive riff in ‘Smothering Possession’ is underscored by a meditative distorted bass and it feels like an unsettling, gradually building call to arms. Meanwhile the background heartbeat of ‘Mind Slow’ is seductively menacing. That said, however, the album did begin to feel almost a little too repetitive. It is definitely one to listen to when the mood is absolutely right.
All in all, this album can be commended highly for its maturity and restraint. The artists behind it have created something full of power, emotion and beauty. It is a beautiful love letter to shoegaze music, while still retaining its originality. Listening to and buying this album is highly recommended!