The Mysterines have produced an album that doesn’t hold anything back, providing fun but inconsistent alternative rock that is overall an absolute joy to listen to. Alex Tearle reviews…
The Mysterines combine excellent vocals and thrashing guitars to create an entertaining album, entering the alt rock scene with endearing swagger that rarely feels overplayed throughout the course of ‘Reeling’. The Mysterines’ debut album is oozing with confidence, sounding like a band that have far more experience than they actually do, but some simple problems hold the album back from greatness.
Comparisons could be drawn to a band like Wolf Alice, but Metcalfe’s style is really interesting and unique
An undeniable standout of the album is the vocal work. Lia Metcalfe’s vocals are absolutely stunning throughout the album, a husky but confident style that is unlike anything I’ve heard before. Comparisons could be drawn to a band like Wolf Alice, but Metcalfe’s style is really interesting and unique, almost mirroring the style of vocals seen on metal albums. Metcalfe’s vocals are incredible in the lightning fast Hung Up and the steadily driven On The Run alike, a showcase of how a vocalist can make or break a band.
Though the band’s talent is evident throughout the album, I can’t help but feel that the vocals are what makes this album truly interesting, transforming the tone of tracks like Means To Bleed into easily shoutable anthems that I feel are made for festivals and tightly packed rooms of fans. Though the lyrics themselves aren’t necessarily poetic or beautiful, their style of delivery is really excellent. The age-old lines “I wanna feel like I did back then” and “All these things that I’ve done” could sound overplayed on another album but are saved by the anguished tone Metcalfe produces, a testament to her skill.
The musical prowess of the band is evident from very early on in the album. The opening track Life’s a Bitch (But I Like It So Much) is one of the best on the album, a really brilliant introduction to the style of The Mysterines. Though the song does feel almost unnecessarily edgy, I keep coming back to hear the excellent melodic picking sections and distorted power chords the band produces; it’s one of the best tracks on the album by far. The following track Hung Up is equally enjoyable, a stomping, anthemic tune that acts as a continuation of the style introduced in the opening track.
The guitar solo on The Bad Thing is also fantastic, mixed with classic alternative drumming and heavy distortion. This style of music is something I wish I saw more of in the music industry today, with the band relying on their talent to do the talking. The Bad Thing is particularly interesting, a song that is split into two parts, a long build-up followed by a huge solo and a heavier latter half. Its tracks like these that paint The Mysterines as one of the most exciting up and coming bands, but this is not always the case on ‘Reeling’.
Trying for alt rock and an almost old west style at the same time
The album suffers from very inconsistent mixing, with some songs playing in just one ear for slightly too long. Though I understand this is a stylistic choice, the band had me checking to see if my headphones were working properly more than once, jolting me out of the album and back into the real world. The album is also quite tonally inconsistent, trying for alt rock and an almost old west style at the same time. Though both elements are very interesting, they feel far too different to be enjoyed alongside each other, sounding like an album performed by two different bands.
Some tracks are quite disappointing too. Still Call You Home is really short and feels out of place, sounding as if it would be more at home in a set from Keane. The pacing and tone in Still Call You Home feel very different to even the other slow tracks, making me question its inclusion in the album. The final track The Confession Song is a really great swansong but is one of the few tracks with backing vocals, a strange inclusion this late in the album. This song really benefits from these vocals though, nailing the western feel other tracks in the album miss. It’s this mixture of genres that hold the album back from greatness, they feel too discordant to be included in the same album.
The Mysterines prove that talent goes a long way in producing a great album, utilising their skills to make an album that, after finishing, I started again immediately. This album is sonically interesting and unique, and I hope that their second album takes the best elements of ‘Reeling’ to make something truly great. The Mysterines are absolutely a band to watch, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
‘Reeling’ is released on the 11th March.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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