Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Kim Chan Yang
Mewn‘s music exists in the depths of your hippocampus, soundtracking the unconscious emotion in everyday life. They work in sonic landscapes and a balance of opposites rather than the formulaic. It’s sometimes life-affirming while at other times it’s harrowing, but most of all it’s transcendent. Landscapes Unchanged, their debut EP on Simonie Records, offers six tracks of contemplative songwriting that joins a wash of warped instrumentation in creating somewhat of an otherworldly experience.
The Manchester band’s music offers an explorative, space aged feel on opener Intro, with the slow-burning ease of country music in its percussion and groove. The EP doesn’t kick into second gear until we meet I See It Now Pt. 1, a wonky pop journey that runs into beautiful psychedelic territory, the faint watermarks of acts such as Timber Timbre are present, but such is the band’s skill they don’t sit in any sonic pocket for too long. Dull Paradise really opens the listener to the touching vocal melodies of Daniel Bluer, as the track builds into a frenzy of layered synths and guitar lines that float weightless in a layered psych-pop glory. It’s lyrically intimate and excels when you’re listening on headphones, dipping into the sonic world of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT.
Landscapes Unchanged as an EP is a body of work and a statement of intent, you’ll find no singles bundled together here. On Resolve the band are at their most atmospheric and confessional, the short track offers an Arcade Fire-esque instrumental build and acts as a centrepiece for the record. I See It Now Pt. 2 is a delicate number, marching forward and evoking memories of funeral processions, the drums act as an overwhelming heartbeat as the rest of world falls out of focus – the shimmering guitar parts echo a winter sun dazzling your sight.
I’m Only Talking ends the EP, it’s a seven and a half minute track of epic proportions. The muscular bass groove and rigid backbone of drums push the sound harder and further than before, piano parts dance beneath the vocal as guitars build in an anxious momentum. The instrumental dynamics are sublime and allow the vocal presence a real gravity and space, the EP as a whole is a balancing act of pent-up tension and pure ecstasy. Ones to watch, I think so.