Post-rock has been a huge part of my musical voyage over the last decade. Great bands, along with memorable albums have come and gone, and left a deep-rooted mark on my taste in music. Thankfully, as with all musical genres, there’s always someone new out there willing to carry the torch, bands that work damn hard to make it happen, bands that go about things the right way and ultimately deliver with every album they release. This blueprint I speak of perfectly describes a band who hail from Lyon, France, a band that harbors a dark but hugely emotive style of post rock that rests heavy on your chest and aches with bittersweet melancholia. I’m speaking of course, about Where Mermaids Drown.
Their debut release, And the raging winds do blow was sublime. I recall reviewing this when it was released back in 2021, and to quote myself! “It’s a voyage into the cruel and unforgiving seas that surround us, a tale about pulling against the tide and showing how small and irrelevant a vessel we are in such vast oceans. Choppy waters, fear and isolation await, as we carefully put on our aqualung and deep dive our way through this EP”. High praise indeed, and well justified I think you will all agree. So here we are again, and once more, Where Mermaids Drown have adorned us with more glorious post rock in the shape of Reminisce.
Reminisce is in essence a love story, told through haunting melodies that are immersed in big, ethereal atmospherics. The opening track, Apophenia, begins the tale with gentle drums, wispy synths and carefree guitars that quickly open into a tremolo shredded passage that echoes and laments Where Mermaids Drowns already unmistakable sound. Tempo-climbing and layered in atmosphere, the track gathers momentum and swiftly sets the tone of the album. A lush, warm spoken passage adds another dimension to the story, giving it body and substance.
The album flows gracefully into the second track, Rio Plata, with its dreamy, brushed-stroked percussions and those crisp, clear guitar tones. The seductive and emotive vibe carries this love story into the next stage of the relationship, all under the watchful eye of those beautifully caressed tremolo guitars and the ever-growing pace and power of the music. Even the uplifting and high energy riffs of Duality take nothing away from the heartwarming emotion that vortexes through the album. Cleverly off-beat and washed in lead solo acrobatics, the music continues to grow and expand in raw power and emotion.
Every love story is littered with heartache, and here is no different. Statues Learn To Weep laments, and casts a shadow over everything with those deeply somber and harsh riffs that are literally soaking in melody and despair. Musically, the track is quite dark, but for me, it’s where Where Mermaids Drown excel. Crestfallen and forlorn, each instrument wails and weeps through every chord and every arpeggio.
We Grew Up Together along with the closing track, and title track of the album, Reminisce, bring together all the emotion and nostalgia that’s associated with the mourning and the passing of a fervent relationship. All those overcharged emotions that were felt come cascading down beneath those solemn sounded guitars and those gently synthesized passages, ending an album as well as a love story that is laden with some of the finest post rock moments you will encompass on any album.
I was lucky enough to interview Jean-Sébastien Mattant on The Smashing Skull Sessions a few months back, as well as meet the band in person at dunk!festival back in 2022. Those two meetings put me in no doubt that Where Mermaids Drown are one of the most exciting and talented bands in the genre today. With a release date of April 07th, and with a stunning piece of art adorning the cover, this album will be a firm favorite amongst post music fans. Be sure to keep an eye on the bands Bandcamp page and be sure to pick up a vinyl press too, it is stunning.