06 May 2021 - Pat O'
post rock | Release date: 09 Apr 2021
My French post music voyage takes one more stop off with the deeply melancholic and dynamic Where Mermaids Drown, and their debut album And The Raging Winds Do Blow.
I almost feel myself developing an accent of late, after spending so much time reviewing the post French scene!!!. It was never a plan to review so many, but it has certainly been a joy for me. So with all that in mind, there was no way I was not going to review Where Mermaids Drown. These guys are another incredibly talented and interesting group of musicians hailing from Lyon, and have released a belter with And The Raging Winds Do Blow. It’s a voyage into the cruel and unforgiving seas that surround us, a tale about pulling against the tide and showing how small and irrelevant a vessel we are in such vast oceans. I do love the nautically inspired artwork that accompanies the album too, it’s both striking and unnerving and gives us a clue as to what lies ahead. Choppy waters, fear and isolation await, as we carefully put on our aqua-lung and deep-dive our way through this EP.
This crusade opens with One Week and it begins with gentle chords and some sweet guitar picking. And in traditional post rock fashion, those quieter moments are soon bridged by some heavier harmonic guitars and crashing drums that set you on course for an expedition across unfathomed and unforgiving waters. The theme of the album and the melancholic undercurrents place you in deep, dangerous swells right from the off. Imagery of wild white horses and driving rain reak havok amidst the tremolo strings and heavy drums. A still moment within the eye of the storm gives way for a spoken passage that’s haunting, downcast and devoid of hope. This style of “post rock” always moves me and captures my imagination with its melancholic and melodic connotations. The track continues with a brilliant bass line all the time being caressed by guitars and drums. What is great about One Week is that instead of playing out the track with the same tempo and verse as it began, the pace and direction changes, and the focus of attention shifts, giving a little beacon of hope as the waters and the band’s instruments continue to pound.
Mydriasis is an eleven minute titan and gives a glimmer of hope and respite amidst the grey and merciless seas. The music builds slowly, with more rich guitars and catchy melodies a plenty. This track is structured around a string of chords and key progressions that build towards a mini crescendo, and repeats it several times, almost like the chorus of a song or even the motion of the sea. But as I mentioned already, there’s more positivity on this track and that fighting spirit is braided within the final flourish. It’s an epic track, loaded with “post rock” greatness. It’s worth mentioning that the musicianship is top drawer here too, with everything sounding on point.
The third and final track, Brine Pool is the track that was officially released as a “single” from the EP, and it’s a monster. Huge riffs and iron-fisted drums torpedo through the water to make way for another haunting and desolate spoken passage. The delivery is cold and flat especially when those words “And the raging winds do blow” reverberate, and tell of a vessel finally sinking to the bottom of that cold black abyss. The music once again picks up and track continues with that beautiful bass guitar taking centre stage, and just like the pied piper, everything follows. In the final third of the track, as was heard in One Week, the direction alternates and the tempo goes up a notch, delivering a huge and brilliant cadence.
And The Raging Winds Do Blow is a story, a tragic one at that, full of emotional depth and big hitting riffs. Its seafaring and oceanic theme will have you literally living the tragedy, and battling all the elements that make life in the open seas an unforgiving and perilous place to be. The dark open waters should always be respected, as should Where Mermaids Drown. They have released a really powerful EP that is as good as anything that’s out there at the moment. Be sure to put that life jacket on, and immerse yourself in this brilliant release.