Friday, April 6, 2018

Cassette Review:
Mezzanine Swimmers
"Black Cat in Heat"
(Already Dead Tapes)

$7 //
Edition of 100 // //

Immediately I think of "Black Cat in Heat" as being psychedelic synth rock.   When you hear the title being sung you will likely feel the same way-- this cassette is a trip.    But then it gets distorted and does this thing I want to say is borderline industrial.   See, it's somewhere in between the early days of Nine Inch Nails ("Pretty Hate Machine") and something from the 1980's that was heavily influenced by synth such as Devo or Oingo Boingo.   Kind of funny how Oingo Boingo seemingly went into a darker place when Danny Elfman began doing soundtracks with Tim Burton and that seems like it should have some sort of relation to Mezzanine Swimmers as well.

Dig those crazy guitars.   Distortion takes us away into another dimension.   It has video game feels and in some weird way it can also reflect on pop.    The song "The Antidote" is a more distorted vocals electro pop number that is closer to NIN or even let's say Gravity Kills (I don't know why, that was just the first band I thought of for some reason).    The delivery becomes rather mechanical and by the end of Side A we've gone into a song called "#night #death" which repeats the lines "It is night / It is death / It's a trap" on a loop with grinding gears (And, yes, I think of Star Wars every time I hear it still)

The flip side just gets weirder.   This sounds like that "Take Me To Church" song with the big bass drum mixed with something the Flaming Lips would do.   There are these higher pitched lyrics coming out on a loop and at the same time the same kind of vocals as you heard on the first side are coming through slightly distorted as well.  Too much is going on for me to accurately portray this but, I mean, have the Flaming Lips ever attempted to create a sound you'd hear only within the world of "Alice in Wonderland" because that's how this sounds to me.

"Sterile Sublimity" is an upbeat song, sort of pop, and it keeps that Flaming Lips theme alive in the sense that it feels like that song they did which was the opening theme for "3 South" (Was it called "Fight Test"?) but also I hear David Bowie in here and oddly enough the song "Stars" by Hum.    Is that an odd combination to have mixed together?  Not really because it's all rock but it's just... I can't explain the levels of this song as it is both heavy and light at the same time.   On that cusp of metal pulling us back down to Earth and yet feeling as if we're floating on clouds at the same time.

"Little Freak" slows things down while "Liminal Laws" feels like it could be by a band called The Go-Jets.   Is that a band name yet?  It also really makes me think of that Metric song "Stadium Love", which you may or may not also hear in here.    Regardless, I feel like this is a complicated layering of songs on top of songs and so you might hear one part over the other the first time you listen and then on the second listen your perspective may change.   There's just so much to pick out of here that it's really the type of cassette we likely won't come to fully comprehend for years to come.

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