Merpeoples – “Silent Sleep”
Tokyo band Merpeoples have released their first song in two years last month. “Silent Sleep” is the leading track from their new two-song single, which is backed by another song they’ve been playing recently titled “Tinkle”.
Both songs offer a glimpse into what the band have been cooking up recently.
“Silent Sleep” is definitely more “rocking” than most of the stuff on Metropolis (aside from, maybe, “Program”), and is certainly one of their heaviest tracks (at least as heavy as a band like Merpeoples can get) ever, with some nice garage-riffing coming in on the second verse. The song has a nice balance of darkness and light, and it’s to the band’s credit that they’re able to carefully straddle that line. It’s one of their enduring qualities, and is also probably why they’ve been able to play with a variety a bands, ranging from Toquiwa to Owarikara to Sugardrop and Phenotas.
On the B-side is “Tinkle”, a fantastic song that’s perhaps one of their most J-pop sounding songs yet. The intro is a cool waltz-y keyboard riff that seems like the beginning of a play, coming back in 4/4 at the end to bring things back full circle. And the chorus is sweeping, hopeful, and almost nostalgic, showing that the band is really aiming high. They’re not quite there yet – some flubs in performance, production, and arrangement are noticeable, but the core idea behind the track is definitely promising.
Merpeoples – “Picasso”
Both tracks show a much more refined band since their early days as a quirky little girls rock band. Looking back at their music videos, the band has come a long way since “Picasso”, their first song, and even “Shaman” off of their debut, Merpeoples. While the band have traded off a bit of their kookiness in exchange for tighter arrangements and melodies, the fundamental traits of the band are all still there – catchy bass riffs, colorful keyboard/synth parts, and of course, vocalist Charlotte’s voice, which is perhaps the anchor that holds everything together, and allows the band’s more melodic sensibilities shine through.
The band sort of remains a bit of an anomaly in the indie scene, with very nice, self-produced music videos, good looks, and a sound that’s more new-wave than Number Girl or Quruli-like. They’re also caught in between the cracks of being an indie band and an “idol group” (I use that term very loosely here), two things that are currently seemingly converging and also becoming clearly defined at the same time. Their willingness to go both ways makes them unique, but at times also perhaps makes it confusing as to where they stand. The “Silent Sleep” single showcases these two sides of the band, and represents two interesting and promising directions they could – and probably should – go in.
Hopefully, they won’t make us wait so long next time.
Merpeoples – “Shaman”