Graham Reid | | 1 min read
When Mermaidens opened for The Beths at the Auckland Town Hall in November 2020, the guy next to me – who knew about such things – said, “it reminds me of Fillmore West”.
He was referring to the great San Francisco venue for psychedelic bands in the late 60s and was spot-on, because singers Gussie Larkin (guitar) and Lily West (bass) with drummer Abe Hollingsworth extended their songs into exciting psych-rock with subtle melodic and dynamic shifts, hints of downbeat microtones and a real sense of enjoyable urgency.
They were also charismatic, West as strong a singer as Larkin. They played off each other and had distinctive personalities on stage.
Although the audience was there for The Beths, Mermaidens hadn’t come from nowhere: their 2017 post-punk/psyche-rock album Perfect Body – which closes with a time-shifting six minutes of ‘Fade’ (“I don’t have a sense of what is right in this place”) – was a Taite Prize-nominee and their 2019 follow-up Look Me in the Eye saw them nominated for Best Alternative Artist at the 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards.
But neither album hinted at what they were like on that night. And what they have become …
Mermaidens’ 2023 album – called just Mermaidens – is their most immediately approachable with its mix of indie rock, shoegaze, early 80s post-punk and crafted pop. It comes after a decade-long journey which began in Wellington when Larkin and West were in the late stages of high school.
Larkin recalls, “We probably became friends because . . .
To read the rest of this article about Mermaidens' career at AudioCulture go here.
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