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Mermen to frolic on ancient seabed
by Lizard Man

Tragically miscast as mere surf music, the Mermen vacillate between high-speed fret workouts and drawn-out melodic improvisations that soar and dive and leave you hanging, wondering, "Just how many layers of feedback can be compressed into a single note anyway?" Then, before you know it, it clarifies and resolves, blending effortlessly into a stream, a waterfall, a rippling cascade of psychedelic textures.

Catchy guitar improvs litter the soundscape with jagged and crunchy chunks of carefully- articulated distortion, blending with a strong rhythm base that doesn't need to be told where to go next--they just feel it. The absence of vocals frees the band to explore wherever they feel drawn, and with song titles like "With No Definite Future and No Purpose Other Than To Prevail Somehow...," that could be just about anywhere.

Still, these guys are professionals, and years of tireless and thankless gigging have honed them into a tightly-wound precision mechanism. They don't get lost on their wanderings, so when you suddenly realize that you recognize that riff from earlier in the tune, you aren't even surprised--you just wonder how long it's been there and, by the way, where were you?

It's hard to believe that just three guys can make such a lush, rich sound. Bass, drums, guitar--that's it. There must be a sub-ether sounding board in there somewhere. Slow it down to a deep-sea pace, then bring it back around to surface in the Black Rock Desert. What other band would load up all their equipment and drive out into the middle of the playa, away from camp, just to jam with each other, the earth, and the sky? That's what they did last year, coming back to camp afterwards to play for the rest of us. And for those wondering how that gig turned out, just remember the storm. Yes, the big one.

2002 Piss Clear
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