Mermaid A Go Go
Altered State of Reverb
A ‘Happy Pill’ And a Glorious Musical Antidote for 2020.
I’m pretty sure I know the RMHQ demographic; and firmly believe them to be of an age when music was meant to fun; and not necessarily ‘worthy’ or ‘cerebral’; which obviously has a big place in my personal collection; but come on kids ……. and, if nothing else ….. we all need a ‘Happy Pill’ as an antidote for this Musical Annus Horribilus, don’t we?
Well; we have just that here in the third album from The Neptunas.
Imagine, if you will a day when you were nonchalantly flicking through the racks of your local Record Store (as such things are for life and not just RSD!) and you stumbled on the Archies inspired artwork on the cover.
You’d pick it up.
When you see that the first track is called Billy The Squid Water Pistol, who among couldn’t resist asking the shop assistant to play a couple of tracks?
Well; Billy The Squid is a surf inspired Ventures meets The Shadows instrumental of Uber-Cool proportions my friend!
If you still needed convincing to part with your pocket money; then the second track Secret of the Sea, continues with that 60’s kitsch theme only now we get to hear Leslita Neptuna sexy vocals on Secret of The Sea; and I know a sexy voice when I hear it! If these two tracks alone don’t make you want to hear the whole album and become an honorary Mermaid; I’m wasting my time here.
While I don’t want to do the Neptunas or their producer, Los Straightjackets’ Danny Amis’ production a disservice; there’s a distinct ‘one take’ lo-fi feel to each track; but that’s a good thing ……… it captures the ‘magic’ and excitement in every groove on Shark Tooth Necklace and the dancetastic title track Mermaid A Go Go and by the time you get to the two ‘Bonus Tracks’ Neptuna Car Wash and Hey Jimmy Freak you will be Shimmying and doing The Mash as if you are dancing with The Fonz in Al’s Diner.
By the way; it takes years of hard toil on the road to make the recording process ‘sound’ as simple and easy as this.
My only criticism is that this should have been released way back in May or June so the likes of Undersea Grand Prix, The Abyss and Nancy Drew’s Wetsuit could have been the soundtrack to our Summer ……. God knows we needed some smiles.
There are two left of centre covers here; The Kinks’ ‘Til The End of the Day which takes it back to it’s grungy beginnings and; a personal favourite of mine from my childhood; The Lonely Bull, which actually shows what clever musicians the three Neptunas are.
Selecting a single song from all of these potential 45’s is never going to be easy; but re-living my teenage years on School’s a Drag has to be a contender; as does Lord Jim and Sorority Stomp, which somehow both have an X-Ray Spex meets CBGB’s era Blondie feel about them; and I guess when played live are both revved up another 50mph.
Which all brings me to Laura Bethita’s sexy vocals again; if you have as vivid imagination as me you’d hope she could talk in French to you ……. well she goes one better; she actually sings in French! Yep; Poupee de Cire Poupee de Son sounds just like a French Kiss set to music. I have no idea what she’s singing about, and don’t even care …… What’s not to like; it’s now my Favourite Song of Lockdown.
Maybe there’s a whole political subtext here that I’ve missed; but I’m taking it all at face value and Mermaid A Go Go has been a fun filled blast from start to finish, and works just as well blasting out of the tinny speakers in my kitchen as does with the windows down in the car on a sunny day ……… and don’t get me started about the potential for a soundtrack to a beer fueled BBQ full of my/our hip friends!