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Album Review: Mermaidens - Look Me In The Eye

2 September 2019 | 12:00 pm | Matt MacMaster

"[S]parkles like starlight through thin clouds."

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Wellington’s Mermaidens return for a third innings with Look Me In The Eye, a chilly, acrobatic album that’s never less than interesting, never more than decent. It’s nimble, skipping time signatures at will, and Gussie Larkin’s guitar sparkles like starlight through thin clouds. For all its charm, it’s quite a severe record, focusing on avoidance, blame and the peculiar shame of being too emotional in public.

There’s more than a little resemblance on this record to Warpaint, another band who tell their tales using taught, precise songwriting and beautiful, moonlit aesthetics. There’s a particular strangeness deep down in Mermaidens, though, something innate in all the outfits NZ produces, and it manifests in the difficulty in properly pinning down their sound. Sometimes it's Kim Gordon (Bastards), sometimes it’s back to Warpaint (She’s Running). In the end though, Look Me In The Eye does not present anything different, and maybe that’s the problem. By leaning into that antipodean weirdness, perhaps they could render something a little more memorable. As it stands, this is an enjoyable example of the form, without much flex.