Record Review: Mermaids

Atlanta, GA

The cover of Tropsicle contains a weird, collage-like image of summertime pictures from long ago. The sounds within the album perfectly fit this image.  The 11 tracks make for a hazy summer sound that blurs the lines between ’50s doo-wop and ’60s poppy psychedelia. There’s a bit of surfy reverb thrown in, and the fitting “ohhs” and “ahhs” seal the deal. This might just be the most interesting and authentic summer album to come out in a hot minute.

As if to stay ahead of the pack and move one decade further with their influences, Mermaids have interpreted everything in a quasi-punk fashion.  On tracks like “Make Believe,” “Holiday,” and “Frozen in Time,” the band channels a Buzzcocks-meets-Beach Boys sound.  Things get a little weird on tracks like “Whirlpool” and “Everybody’s Acting Like an Animal,” but it’s a cool, catchy kind of weird that makes this band even more interesting. Tropsicle is not easily labeled.

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At the center, “Vacation” perfectly tempers the album’s faster moments with a slower surf ballad. Here, lead singer Matt McCalvin sings, “I’m feeling alright, and I know that you will too/ When we’re sailing around on the deep sea blue.” This is where it gets rooted deep. Certainly, it’s this beautiful simplicity that serves as the glue for entire record. (Pretty Ambitious)

Engineered by Ian McDonald at his home studio in Atlanta, GA

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