Isle of Wight five piece Plastic Mermaids have taken their time with their debut album Suddenly Everything Explodes, out on May 24th, mixing into their musical cauldron elements of woozy, psych-pop, insightful lyrics and pop culture references, a dollop of humour, fuzzy pop and a string of catchy melodies. What they’ve cooked up is as original and enjoyable album full of wonky pop music as you’ve heard in a long time.
It’s been a labour of love getting there though. “This album has been a long time coming,” says the bands Douglas Richards, “and it feels great to have it finished. After three years of jamming, writing, debating, recording, gigging, multiple games of worms and copious caffeinated beverages we finally ended at this point. The album as whole has a broad twist of genres, vibes and sounds, I guess it shows the eclectic influences and the love we have for shovelling all sorts of music into are heads. “
After the glittering synths and guitars of the short introductory ‘Glow’, 1996 really sums up the album, dizzying turns of directions, false stop, skyscraping synths and melodies that flit straight into your heart, all adorned with these wry lyrics and understated vocals over the top of something that sounds like it would be at home on Yoshimi battles the Pink Robots.
What ‘Suddenly everything explodes’ doesn’t lack is ambition. Just within its first few tracks there’s intricate string instruments on floating on a vacuum, while ‘Ten Thousand Violins Playing Inside an Otherwise Empty Head’, apart from being a fantastically titled thing, is instead this synth-pop banger. Milk, one of the albums highlights, features some of the bands most evocative lyrics – ‘Across the table, you glance over at me, then you shamelessly knock back the jug of milk; It’s clear that last night’s left you kind of hazy, and i’m trying not to tell you what I felt’.
Yoyo carries on the almost hazy, woozy, floating in space feel of much of the record – as it builds to a crescendo with choirs and spoken word, until the accompaniment spills over, splashing euphoria everywhere. What lights them up is this unashamed focus on writing tunes that stick.
As the album continues, the quality doesn’t really drop. Throwing stones at the moon is fairly pedestrian, but gets away with it, while Unhappy Tamagotchi and the largely instrumental Aquarium Acid trip glitter in their slower tempo’s and space afforded. Closer Luliuli points to a future, vocoder’ed to the maximum as the band come over all Shack covering Laurie Anderson, but still melodic enough to glue you to the edge of your seat.
It’s an album that despite being accessible and melodic and enjoyable and immediate still has enough depth to reveal itself more and more on repeated lessons. And that makes it a rare gem.