Mermaid Avenue have released their ten-track album Tempation And Half The Truth. You can listen to it HERE.
Opening with Effigy a sense of sonic space is instantly created which flows throughout the whole album. With catchy backing vocals, hooks and a definite pop sensibility, these tracks are, for want of a better descriptor, easy listening, alternative rock with a country flavour. The entire album is reminiscent of listening to the radio in the 90s.
Without sounding ‘same-y’ the album flows in a similar vein with the exception of the slower pace of Hold On To Love and title track Temptation And Half The Truth. A definite country influence is displayed with the mostly acoustic Washed Up and the ‘Eagles-esque’ TDK which has some very tasteful slide guitar work. Caroline is reminiscent of Hunters & Collectors with catchy hooks and a more driving rhythm. Horses features saxophone and muted trumpet and a motown beat in the chorus. The album finishes with the laid-back song Rise.
Roo had a chat to songwriter Peter Clarke about the album.
Can you tell us what inspired you to make this album?
I’ve written songs and played in bands for quite a few years but never quite got to point of recording a full length album. The death of my mother to cancer a few years ago was probably the initial impetus to finally get this project going. The current line up of the band came together over this time and they are not only great musicians but great guys to hang out with so it was time to put it down on record. Given we had no backing by a label or anything like that I was also inspired by the Brisbane band Halfway who I've followed for many years. They started out with nothing but great songs and a DIY ethic many years ago and just got on with it.
Can you tell us about the recording process and the people involved in making this album?
The album was recorded at The Barn Studiosat Plainlands (in the Lockyer Valley) over the course of several sessions over about 6 months in late 2016 into the first half of 2017.
I write quite a few songs so we whittled it down to 11 songs which we felt fit well together for the record prior to hitting the studio. The aim from the beginning was to make an album in the traditional sense - i.e. one that a listener would stay interested in from start to finish. We were lucky to have Steve Robin on board at The Barn who has a great ear and was able to help us finesse the songs and lift the production values whilst keeping the integrity of the songs.
Steve's wife Shelley helped us out with the backing vocals on Wagons. Shaun Ballagh and Brad Esbensen helped out with the saxophone and trumpet on Horses. The vocals for Hold On To Love were recorded in Mackay whilst I was up there for work by Scott Netuschil at Sugartown Music. The album was mastered by Margaret Luther at Chicago Mastering Service in the USA.
What is on the horizon for Mermaid Avenue?
At the moment we have just played our album launch at Black Bear Lodge which went well and we are trying to spread the word as far and as wide as we can with respect to the album release, so thanks for having us on your blog! In the longer term I have already written the next album so we will start bedding that down after the dust has settled on this one over the next few months and look to hit the studio again at some point next year. It might seem a bit quaint in this day but I'd like this band to go on and release a series of albums that hopefully people will appreciate as time goes by.
Speaking of Mermaid Avenue, that’s an interesting band name. How did that come about?
Well, like all bands when we started out we came up with whole bunch of names most of which were vetoed by at least one member of the band for either being stupid or embarrassing or some combination of both. We were probably a bit more alt-country when we started out and we talked a lot about Wilco so our bass player John went through his record collection and came up with Mermaid Avenue from the Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration. I think we have gone in more rock direction since then but the name has stuck for better or worse!
Where can our readers catch you live?
Well we are heading for country for our next show. We are playing in Dalby on September 22 at the Russell Tavern so if any of your readers are from around those parts get on down there for a rockin' night out! Otherwise we are still in the planning stages for a few shows later in the year around Brisbane and hopefully a little further afield. Stay tuned to our website or Facebook for updates.