The Plastic Mermaids’ debut album is big and strange. How big and strange is it? Think of a planet populated entirely by candy monsters happily fucking each other while they pop each other’s LSD bubble-wrap hair and you’ll be in the right wheelhouse. This shit’s fun, freeing, and entertaining as all fuck. It snuggles nicely next to Grandaddy, Mercury Rev, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, and The Flaming Lips. Did I mention The Flaming Lips? Because, holy fuck, that’s an easy comparison to make. There’s even some crossover between the two as one of the Mermaids is making custom effects pedals for The Flaming Lips.
The fact that one of the Plastic Mermaids makes custom equipment is not surprising. You don’t get a sound this unique unless every inch of the project is hand carved. This shit’s more idiosyncratic than a cult-born pirate/astronaut with dreams of becoming a professional clown. This has more spirit than a musical theatre student/pornstar named Beebus with a parallelizing fear of being forgotten. The crafty craftsman of the band is Jamie. He started building custom gear because he was broke as fuck but still wanted the good shit. From there, he eventually ended up making his own amps, guitars, mics, synths, mixing desk, and—oh ya—an analogue fucking studio somewhere on the Isle of Wight. Dude is a musical fucking MacGyver. Hand him a hairbrush, a bathtub, and an extra-long extension cord and you’d probably end up with the sickest bass of your life. See that front cover? That’s Jamie’s handiwork. This album is as custom as a custom can custom. And this is the charm that sits at its heart. When you listen to this, you’re not hearing music you’re hearing the sounds of another fucking planet. Beware the candy monsters with all their delightful hair.
After three years of work, and endless amounts of time to experiment and record in their own private studio, Plastic Mermaids’ album was born. Some of the songs, like “Taxonomy”, are pure blissful gobbledygook. The lyrics will float past you with the ease of the greatest high of your life. You’ll be smiling like a fucking idiot. Then there are those other songs that hit you square in the gut with their honesty. “Yoyo” is one of those motherfuckers. Jamie and Douglas Richards, brothers and members of the Plastic Mermaids, lost their mother to that piece of shit monkey bastard of a fucking disease, cancer. Goddamn it, I fucking hate cancer. At the centre of this happy-go-lucky ADHD funfair album full of strings, video game noises, pipe organs, keyboards, and buckets of custom gear, there’s a richness and honesty that only comes by telling the truth the best you can. These motherfuckers aren’t strange for the sake of being strange. They’re strange because they’re telling the goddamn truth. And it’s youthful, fun, and fantastically fucking beautiful.