If I had to label the Mexico-based band Mercvrial, I would probably place them in the post-punk genre; however, Mercvrial is so much more than that. Drawing together elements of post-punk, dream-pop, psychedelia and indie-rock, this “geographically dispersed recording project” cannot be pigeon-holed. In all honesty, this is the first time I have come across the eclectic group, but they are already known on an international level. Featuring in Blurt Online, Entropy, The Joy of Violent Movement, The Indie Source, Berlin On Air, Last FM and Flatlines Radio, Mercvrial has been described as radiant, profound and warm. The latest addition to their discography is Brief Algorithms.
The debut LP from Mercvrial, Brief Algorithms is a kaleidoscopic 11-track thing of beauty. While adhering to a strong post-punk sound, there is a movement from Britpop to dream-pop and shoegaze. When listening to Brief Algorithms, I noticed a strong nostalgic leaning toward 1980s post-punk but there is also a contemporary sound that gives Mercvrial an edginess. Perhaps this group could bring old-school vibes to a modern-day audience.
Opening with ‘Be That Someone’, Mercvrial immediately has you tapping your toe with an upbeat melodic arrangement. Pounding drums meld elegantly with a smooth synth dreaminess; however, while there is a smoothness within the track, the upbeat vibes make it far more buoyant. It is this ability to combine soothing and laidback sounds with a more jovial sound that shows innovation as a group.
As I said, Mercvrial is not to be pigeon-holed and this is evident in the second track: ‘Dark Stars (Alternate Mix)’. Bringing a strong rock flavour to the album, this single adds a modern-day alternative rock style to Brief Algorithms. This hard-hitting design is also heard in the bold ‘Hail of Arrows’, ‘I Never Liked You Anyway’ and ‘Dance In The Dark’. The thing is, while there is a heaviness to certain songs the album is highly diverse with highs, lows, shadows, illumination and an overall jaw-dropping versatility.
Placement is always important in album arrangements and Mercvrial showcase their understanding of this. Alright, maybe song placement isn’t the core means of making an album good, but it certainly helps the flow of its sound. In Brief Algorithms you are sent adrift on a sonic river moving through the waves but also steadily floating on its glistening surface with dreamier songs. This lull in turbulence comes in ‘I’ll Get You Home On Time’. Not necessarily a ballad, but something softer than other tracks. A nice breath of air before you deal with the tumultuous waves in this sonic river of an album.
Overall, I find Brief Algorithms an intriguing and engaging album. Chilled out with laidback styles are placed alongside more powerful sounds making a listener want to keep on listening. As I mentioned, this is my introduction to Mercvrial and I will definitely keep my eye on this shining gem.