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Poison City


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Every element of Mere Women’s distinct, dooming sound is amplified on their third album, Big Skies

Looming over the flickering, guitar grind, the band’s rhythmic pulse — mathy precision, yet rarely trapped in predictable loops — palpitates with greater prominence; all anxious, always relentless. The glooming synths that encase them, similarly, are larger than ever, forever all-encompassing — even when detached from their companion, as with the instrumental intermission “Visitor”. And at the centre (quite literally) of both — Amy Wilson’s harrowing vocals, flipping between complicity and contrast, either rattling along in time with the punchy pulse or standing alone, often strikingly histrionic in their slow-motion state (a complete deconstruction of which is presented on atmospheric track, “Curse”.)

Wilson’s halting vocal grip is most compelling on the series of chanted lines that leap from her more consistent, groaning engulf, serving as stepping stones across the LP. A hop from the title track’s confronting call that “you’re wasting your time” lands us on a despondent plea to “pick me up” (“Drive”), just a short jump later on “Noise”, we’re invited in closer to the emotive heart of the record: “I don’t feel the pain like I used to.”

While the Sydney quartet previously cloaked their objectives, these scattered, exclaimed lines on Big Skies give a face to the feeling of their dramatic sound. A personable alteration directly attributable to the album’s underlying thematic focus, which Wilson explains is drawn primarily from the “social and physical isolation often felt by women living in regional areas and examines the idea of being an outsider.”

“With the rise of mainstream pop feminism in music, it’s important to present an alternative view of the female experience, one not backed by extreme wealth and opportunity but rather constrained by isolation and a volatile physical environment,” she explains, adding that “the album also looks back at the plight of women over the last three generations” and while acknowledging major breakthroughs in equality, the album explores “current frustrations that many young women are facing with the gender pay gap and other residual gender inequalities.”

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