Music Reviews



Pretty Ambitious Records

New bands wanting to make rock music face an inherent dilemma in 2010. Do you continue the winning formula of playing the same three or four chords over a verse-chorus-verse structure but face criticism for copying what has been done before? Or, do you try to expand on or even abandon the half-century formula but risk creating something very different from rock?

The Mermaids go with the former on their aptly titled debut album, Tropsicle. The Atlanta quintet describe themselves as “tropical, psychedelic, pop” on their MySpace page and “surfy death wop” on their Facebook profile. Doo-wop harmonies and reverby guitars lay the foundation for Tropsicle’s effervescent, breezy, jangly songs. The Mermaids pepper melodic keyboards and shimmering solos throughout.

Ironically, the first track is not a good example of the many icy-cool wa oo oo ing of the lyrics. “Holiday” sounds like a bunch of guys singing out of tune in karaoke. But hang in there. The remaining 10 tracks feature soothing harmonizing. The positive, mid-tempo songs on Tropsicle would play perfectly in those 1960s beach party movies featuring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. There’s nothing too crazy or out of control.

But are people sick of yet another band copping from the Beach Boys and the Ventures? Nah. Tropsicle debuted on the CMJ Top 200 chart and had an encouraging write-up in the New York Times. Sticking with the tried-and-true rock ‘n roll ain’t so bad after all.

Pretty Ambitious:

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