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  • Mermaidens - Gig Review: Mermaidens with Kane Strang @ Whammy, Auckland - 08/04/2016
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Mermaidens - Gig Review: Mermaidens with Kane Strang @ Whammy, Auckland - 08/04/2016

19 Apr 2016 // A review by HUPH

In a hot concrete box deep beneath St. Kevin’s Arcade, two of New Zealand’s hottest young bands were holding an album release party. I haven’t visited Whammy for a long time, and stepping into its dark depths was like being whisked back into Victorian London. I know it’s supposed to be a hip dive bar, and it is of course, but I was most grateful not to be accosted by Sweeney Todd or Moriarty as I descended its murky stairwell.

Starting later than the advertised time of half-nine, the small room eventually filled up and Kane Strang took to the stage. The following 40 minutes was nothing short of magical. It probably helps that I’ve been caning debut LP Blue Cheese for several months now. The risk with having an expectation of an excellent album being performed live is that it could go badly – the wonder of the recorded songs not translating on the stage – but thankfully this was nowhere near disappointing. This band of Dunedinites is going places - really really going places - and to see them in this environment was a real privilege. Just about every track off ‘Blue Cheese’ got an outing, plus some new material which bore all the trademarks of the phenomenal song-writing that has got them this far. Watch this space.

Mermaidens took to the stage shortly after and played the entirety of their debut LP Undergrowth. Having seen the band once before back in January, I had an idea about what to expect, and once again they did not disappoint. The sound in the concrete box seemed less together than for Kane Strang, and the volume louder. Nevertheless the dark, brooding songs that Mermaidens intricately spin sounded enchanting and thrilling in equal measure. From opener Under The Mountain II to closer Splinter, the set captivated the audience. Encore track ‘Dive’ saw a lively response from the crowd, the more upbeat tempo, and invitation from drummer Abe to dance, being grasped with both hands. Again, you can imagine the depth of Mermaidens songs will carry them far for years to come, and I for one hope that that happens.

 

About Mermaidens

The earliest sketches of Wellington trio Mermaidens, follows the story arch of how most bands start; through long-term friendship and bonding over music that shaped their salad days. For Mermaidens, it was an eclectic melting pot of PJ Harvey, Warpaint and Fugazi to name a few.

Together, childhood friends Gussie Larkin (guitar/vocals), Lily West (bass/vocals) and Abe Hollingsworth (drums) form a powerful trinity of unwavering creativity and relentless work ethic. Their time together as Mermaidens has been a fruitful one; a timeline consisting of two critically acclaimed albums, being signed to iconic indie label Flying Nun Records, and a wide range of live supports that include Sleater Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Lorde, Mac DeMarco and The Veils.

The internationally acclaimed Perfect Body (which drew a 2018 Taite Music Prize nomination) saw their circle of influence expand to a new, global audience. With its progressive and cinematic stylings on angular post-punk and grunge, Gold Flake Paint said the record “should prove to be one of the summer’s most brilliant long-players," while long-time music critic Graham Reid of Elsewhere confirmed it as “a real listening experience.” Clash Magazine praised the record for its “Noisy, scratchy, enigmatic songwriting.” But perhaps it was God Is In The TV that explained the commanding presence of the record best by saying “I can quite believe that some of their tracks have mystical properties.”

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mermaidens

Releases

Perfect Body
Year: 2017
Type: Album
O
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Bones
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Demo
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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