Introducing an incredible duo with great talent and tons of experience in the gothic and alternative music scene. Mercurine is a project formed by Mera Roberts and Byron Brown around the year 2000. Mera comes from a very experienced musical background after performing with such legendary bands as Cassandra Complex, Faith and the Muse and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Byron's experience stems from work with Superfiends, Kommunity FK and Ambassadors of Love. Their combined history before Mercurine and their time together is really impressive. After getting together and starting this project they released a number of demos and slew of tracks on mp3.com before the long-awaited debut album Music is Chemical in 2003. Two years later brought the follow-up work of Waiting For Another Fall which is a short album that continues their progressive sound.
Their fresh style is something really enjoyable for many fans of Gothic, Shoegazer, Ethereal and New Wave bands. Take the best elements of The Cure, New Order, Love Spirals Downwards and mix them with the catchy electronics and moods of Book of Love and you end up with Mercurine. While the music is a little more edgier than most of these bands, these combined styles are wonderful, especially for fans of Gothic with touches of electronics and female finesse in the form of dreamy vocals. I like to refer to their sound as "New Wave for the New Millenium", and I think it sums it up pretty good.
I can't recommend this band enough to people looking for a fresh sound while keeping the best elements of favorites from times past. Check out selections on all Gothic Paradise radio shows and watch for updates on their website.
Live August 10, 2012 in L.A. - The Redwood Bar & Grill
We made it out for a rare live event for us and for Mercurine at this small live show. They appeared on the bill along with Frankenstein and The Spiritual Bat all the way from Italy. There's a lot to be said for how a band can perform regardless of the venue they're thrust into. At this place, they might as well have been playing in my living room with the small stage they and their equipment had to share. During the Frankenstein performance, cords were being pulled out of guitars, microphones, pedals, etc. Despite the cramped quarters, the atmosphere was fun and the band put on a great show that really got the crowd involved. While I would love to see them in all their glory on a stage at Whitby or WGT, a small, intimate show like this was great to be there just a few feet from the band and really experience every detail.
They started off with "Bridge Burner" which helped to get the blood flowing a bit with the upbeat rhythms and both Byron and Mera singing as well as their guest bassist Bart Sinister from Frankestein joining in on the chorus as well. In fact Bart proved be a great part of the performance plucking out the solid, heavy bass notes that form such a foundation and anchor to the tracks from thsi band. The moods and sounds ebbed and flowed, building and fading throughout the night. Mera's solid vocals held true on the live stage as well as if in the studio. Byron's guitar work was impressive to say the least. It was fun to watch him work the pedals for the various effects and his fingers blur and move, caressing the guitar to create a solid and impressive sound. As we were graced with one excellent piece after another of some of my favorite tracks such as "StrangeTimesLove", "Walking West" and many others, it was a small, but excellent show. It's been a long-time coming for me to be able to see this band live and it was an excellent experience and one that won't soon be forgotten.
Waiting For Another Fall - Review
After the release of the debut album Music is Chemical, I was instantly hooked as a fan. While I still enjoy that debut album thoroughly today and continue to listen to it on a regular basis, I have been wanting to hear something new from the band for a while. As an excellent way to start out the new year they have released the short sophomore work titled Waiting For Another Fall. The album includes everything fans may have enjoyed from the first album in a light-hearted, emotional and sincere way. Great electronics combine with smooth vocals, strong bass, moving percussion and nice guitar among a myriad of other instruments.
Fans of this band may have already heard the starting track "The Wish" as a teaser the band posted to their member group site a while ago. This excellent piece kicks off the album with their signature electronics and Mera's vocals. It builds up to a smooth, mid-tempo track that really takes me back to the great New Wave music. The bass really comes out strong throughout this and other parts of the album. One thing that really pulls the entire album together into one cohesive work is the way many of the tracks fade into the other, or for those that don't, the transition is solid and catchy. "Bluemouse" picks up this way without a segue, but with solid percussion into a moving track with whispered vocals and plenty of the great new wave elements we've grown to love.
There are a couple of psychadelic moments that take the listener off on a tangent, but each is done with a smooth transition. "August in Hell" is one of these, although it almost sounds like this was prematurely split from the previous track "Bluemouse". Some of these transitions and continuations have certainly made it hard to take single tracks and present them as radio selections. "Copper Rain" is another of these that seem like a continuation of the previous track. "SunlightGreySkies" is a perfect example of the psychadelic tangent mentioned above. It certainly provides a little "grey matter" for the album and a slight distraction from the fun, upbeat, yet emotional and melancholy tracks.
After drifting along through the album to this point, we're brought to the incredibly catchy and upbeat track "StrangeTimesLove". This has quickly become a favorite of mine with it's fun little synth loops and the incredible work on the bass and other guitars. At nearly eight minutes long, you almost wish it would go on for another ten minutes when you get to the end, it's really that addictive and catchy. As this excellent piece winds down, it slowly drifts into an ethereal / neo-classical music fan's dreamworld as Mera pulls out her cello and shows the world her part in making Black Tape for a Blue Girl famous. "Another Ending" is this excellent finale which continues to combine much of the melodic intervals presented in the album which gives it such an emotional, yet positive and upbeat sound, but tones it all down into a dreamy classical piece with the cello being the main focus that leaves the listener spellbound and longing for more as the album comes to a close.
This long-awaited follow-up work is everything fans could hope for, except that it's too short! At just over 30 minutes running time, it will leave fans wanting more for sure.
Music is Chemical - Review
I'll begin this review by just saying that it has been well worth the wait for this debut album. They've had a few teaser tracks up on mp3.com for a while, and so I was dying to hear the rest of the album. Needless to say I've been very pleased that they've stuck with the style that was presented in these introductory tracks.
The catchy mix of guitars, electronics and ethereal female vocals are present from the very start in the moving opening track "Walking West". The guitars and excellent bassline ebb and flow while layered synths add extra body and texture to the music while Mera's layered vocals flow throughout. The bass, synths and vocals all kick in for an excellent intro to the catchy track "ShakyShakee Bells". Set the shoegazer guitars aside and this track along with a few others is what really reminds me of Book of Love. Even the silly title is fitting. Of course the track that really takes you back to the popular days of 80's New Wave music is "Nu Wave Fairy" with the little bit of light punk/wave sounds that were so fun back in the day. They bring this style alive with a fresh sound and feeling that everyone can enjoy.
Of course for those that are more into the darker, moodier gothic/shoegazer/ethereal sounds, there is plenty more here. Tracks like the dark and melancholic track "Gone Too Far" is perfect for these fans. Beginning slow and building up with light synths, bass and of course building to a climax with excellent guitars and soaring vocals, which is the perfect recipe for ethereal shoegazer bands. "Will Morning Come" is one of the catchiest tracks on this album. It quickly became my favorite teaser track and so I have really enjoyed listening to it over and over again long before the album came out. Now that I have an entire album of great material to choose from though, it's hard to really pick a favorite.
If you really want to get into the ethereal moods, "Drifting" and "Pact" are the songs that will really take you away on that dreamy voyage fans will love. "Drifting" is such a fitting title, because I think it fits the style, lyrics and music to perfection.
And finally, if you like some experimental or a little more noise in your music, there are some pieces here for everyone. "Bridgeburner" is the edgiest track with harsher elements in it. Experimental is the way I would describe several of the tracks at the end. They almost appear as "space filler" for the CD, but good enough and interesting enough to be enjoyable to listen to the entire album, including the hidden track at the end.
Overall a great album, and excellent for a debut. I hope this means there is more to come in the future of at least this quality or better!
Label: Heads on Sticks/Pato de Amor