Back in 2018 when alt-country/indie rockers Mermaid Avenue released their debut ‘Temptation and Half the Truth‘, the album examined love in all its aspects. From the first blushes of romance (Effigy), through the ‘mid life’ of a relationship (Wagons), the passing of a loved one (Hold on to Love) even to the darkness of jealousy and obsession (Jealous of Heart) – chief songwriter Peter Clarke drew from the human experience to write honest songs about love and relationships. Critics and bloggers alike were impressed by both the strength of the songwriting and the honesty of its content.
Fast forward to 2021, through a global pandemic and the departure of some band members, to a new revamped Mermaid Avenue. The exit of long term members – guitarist Darren Madeo (to indie rock outfit Leichhardt) and bassist John Doyle (to Flint.), allowed the band to expand from a four to a six piece outfit with the addition of Mike Kearey (guitars, lap steel), Chris Wong (guitars) and Casey Lee Chadwick (piano/keys). The addition of new bassist Mark Egan completed the lineup.
Clarke was quoted in a recent interview “The ‘new’ Mermaid Avenue is like the second car you bought. The first one will always have a special place in your heart but this one is all leather interior and has more horsepower under the hood.”
The increased horsepower is evident in the new single ‘Turn the Page‘. Musically dense yet articulate, the song tells the story of a couple working though the impact of infidelity on their long term relationship. The lyrical content is reflected in the music as Kearey’s muscular slide enages with Chadwicks delicate piano to provide the musical portrayal of a strained conversation.
The song is accompanied by a semi-animated video that also tells the story, around portrayals of the band in the studio. The single and the video are available for streaming now via most digital outlets. The new album ‘Sugartown’ is slated for release in September 2021.
What inspired you to get into music?
Mermaid Avenue was formed by songwriter Peter Clarke back in 2015 as a vehicle for his songwriting, something he has done all of his life.
How would you describe your music?
We find ourselves hard to label. The songs start off in one state and gradually evolve to what they become. We don’t try to write in a specific style but try and shape the music around the lyric content and the mood of the song. The first album had everything from acoustic americana, through alt-country and indie rock to (no joke) goth rock.. It’s overused, but the best description of the music would be ‘real’ – it’s been drawn from real experiences (whether lived or observed) about real things.
What would you say is your recording and songwriting style?
Prolific! Pete will come to the band with a new song at least once a week (there have been weeks with up to 3). We then flesh them out and each band member helps to shape the song into what it might become. It’s kind of like sculpture, we keep chipping away at it till it reveals itself. Recording-wise, we demo our songs in our own little studio, and then, when ready, we book time with Steve Robin at The Barn. He’s a great engineer and knows us well, we record live with few overdubs. Lately, we’ve also been working with producer/mix engineer Lachlan Goold (Midnight Oil, Kate Miller-Heidke) and he has added another dimension.
Where would you like to see your music career in 5 years time?
Hmmm, ‘Career’ is a big word, laden with expectations. Given our style and ‘genre’, I think we’ll be happy to have 5 more albums out and lots more people enjoying the songs on them.
Where can music fans listen to your music?
All the usual digitals – we’ve started to experiment with videos that follow the storyline, these can be found on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqsNXs7IL9Y&list=PLf8m9VTcvn_fpEeJrvxqQ3Fpx8JvnDjq1
iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/artist/mermaid-avenue/925443906