I have a few “go to” words when writing reviews, some probably much over used but they have served me well. Ethereal crops up a lot, as does subversive. Mercurial is also one of my favourites, but after encountering a musician who’s curriculum vitae is the very definition of the word, I think I may have to stop using it so freely. Why mercurial? Well, anyone who has recorded with Death Grip’s Zach Hill and Sondre Lerche, has opened for Tame Impala, played guitar on Paul Simon’s new record, who hops genre and styles at a whim and does it all whilst bearing a passing resemblance to a late 70’s Johnny Thunders is someone who surely epitomises the word.
Musically the album soaks up vibes from across time and distance, slick 80’s laced grooves mix with more experimental creations, world music references are pulled into very American pop-rock and generic divides are completely ignored. The album does have a few hurdles for the listener to get over though, in that there are no vocals on the album yet the songs are generally short and rhythmically based. This means that they are neither traditionally songlike nor cinematically expansive, put another way, they often lack the immediate punch but neither do they wander into more languid territories where the musicality can be more fully explored.
That said, art is about challenge and once you get your ear in there is a lot of clever and original rewards to be had and just as some music delivers immediately, some requires more dedication, trust and patience. Maybe the down side of having a mercurial nature is that your direction can often seem unfocused rather than exploratory. Discuss.