Mermaid – ‘Iridescence’


Los Angeles-based project Mermaid showcases an enthralling sound on their debut album Iridescence. Atmospheric entrancement and memorable hooks alike show throughout a catching blend of soul and R&B, also dabbling in alt-rock ferocity and dream-pop introspection. The project comprises partners Brittany Campbell and Candace Quarrels, who met in the Chicago production of Hamilton and then formed Mermaid. Their love for each other is evident within Iridescence, alongside their astonishing musical talents.

The dream-like entrancement of opening track “Block 37 (Intro)” meshes whispered vocals and subdued jazzy pop inclinations, traversing seamlessly into the soulful glistening of “Thrivin’,” a success with immediately captivating qualities. Harp-friendly glistening and “sitting on top of the world,” vocal sentiments drives to a harmonious hook, celebrating a lovely “you and me,” unity. Both the subdued reflections — “as long as I’m with you, it’ll be okay,” — and the soulful expanses resonate on this success, which combines with the intro to quickly showcase the project’s balance of lush soundscapes with hooky structural emergences.

Another success in a completely separate stylistic realm, “Disassociate” stirs with its angsty rock approach. “Every time you run your mouth, I disassociate,” the vocals let out during the chorus, successfully juggling dreamy introspection and vigor-full rock. The cheer-y “hey!” vocal effects resonate alongside the slabs of distorted guitar, while the punk-friendly vocal charisma in the verses dazzle throughout. “Disassociate” and the similarly rock-friendly “Boundaries” are exemplary of the project’s eclectic reach, spanning from the soulful adorations within “Thrivin'” to these productions’ heavier rock intensity.

The album’s closer, “Wanna Be Your Lover” reminds of Mermaid’s nostalgic soulfulness, capping off a riveting listening experience with doses of soul, blues, and funk. The track’s title-touting proclamation sends chills alongside wailing guitars, as various vocal layers present an intoxicating immersion. The “makes me beg for more,” bridge also enamors in its vocal lengthening and responsive “just a little bit,” vocal intertwining; the effort is a stunning production that melds the project’s numerous strengths, namely fantastic vocal layering, funk-guitar fusing, and cohesively melodic twists.

Throughout, numerous other successes further demonstrate Mermaid’s compelling songwriting. Serene guitar glistening and introspective lyrics enamor on “Dreamer,” musing on new beginnings with gorgeous vocal work. The dream-pop arsenal proves thoroughly successful, particularly as textural, orchestral hints emerge in the background in the second half. “On a Cloud” touts a similarly beautiful aesthetical appeal, while a track like “Purr” struts a bluesy pop suaveness with addictive charisma. Iridescence marvels with its standout, eclectic production — wowing with striking vocal harmonies and precise instrumentation amidst its explorations of bluesy pop, soulful balladry, and angsty rock alike.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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