Pretty Ambitious Records
By Eileen Tilson
It only takes about 30 seconds listening to The Mermaids’ debut LP, Tropsicle, to instantly transport you to a Frankie Valentine/Annette Funicello movie, albeit the hipster version. Atlanta’s own Mermaids opens the album with the sunny “Holiday,” pouring with that same ’60s “doo-wop-ness” that made everyone want to go surfing. However, according to singer, guitarist and founding Mermaid Matt McCalvin (formerly of Gringo Star), “there’s a lot of depressing, personal shit going on in some of these songs.”
McCalvin and John Hughes, along with Noah Adams (bass), Sam Wagstaff (keys) and Ryan Fetter (drums), are responsible for this bleached landscape. If the whirly, trippy album cover is any indication of The Mermaids headspace while recording the album, then it is no wonder that songs like “Whirlpool” and “Everybody’s Acting Like an Animal” have enough reverb to qualify these tunes as psychadelic-punk; apparently a good enough reason for the bands label, Pretty Ambitious (an offshoot of local roots rock label Lower 40 Records.), to launch just to put out the band’s music. “Frozen in Time” has a gothic, sun-bleached, “Ever Fallen in Love” flavor, courtesy of the attic-turned studio magic of Abby Go Go drummer Ian McDonald, who produced/engineered Tropsicle.
Needless to say talent exudes here more than just some punk rock oohs and ahhs. The Mermaids have a summer album that is sure to stretch farther than Atlanta. Here’s to hoping that the King of Pops adds Tropsicle to his menu soon.
The Mermaids play The EARL with Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall on March 4.