2. The Guides v.2
3. Letter To Hermione (David Bowie cover)
4. Agalia (acoustic)
5. They Are With Us
Icy ghost drones, spacious atmospheres, glimmering guitars, Tuvan-inspired throat chants and earthy female vocals
A year after releasing the full-length debut A Waking Ghost Inside, Mercury’s Antennae returns with the 5-track The Guides (EP). Erick Scheid’s celestial electronics and soaring, swirling processed guitars blend perfectly with Dru Allen’s captivating plaintive voice on tracks that explore the themes of longing and spiritual connection and find the duo stretching out to delve into a dreamy, acoustic atmospheric sound.
“Ever the siren, Allen’s evocative vocals are wrapped in the lush, Tangerine Dream-evoking instrumentation of Scheid, drawing listeners like sailors to the rocks – only instead of being dashed against them one feels soothingly entranced and healed.” – Santa Barbara Independent
Neoromantic and heartfelt, the 30-minute EP originated from mobile-recorded live takes created in Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco during Mercury’s Antennae’s spring and summer 2014 tours. Inspired by the long drives past golden hills and multi-hued green forests, Scheid and Allen discussed showing the group’s more earthy side. This is exemplified by the stripped-down version of the shoegaze dream pop song “Agalia,” recorded with just guitar and voice in one take live in the studio. In this way The Guides (EP) captures a vulnerable quality in the music while remaining true to the band’s unique otherworldly style.
The track “The Guides” from A Waking Ghost Inside provided the initial framework of the EP. Says Scheid, “In its writing stage ‘The Guides’ was meant as an ethno-ambient piece but became the first acoustic song we completed together. In order to offer this in our live set during our first West Coast tour, we brought back the deeper electronic feel of the song.”
“The Guides v.2” is also the first video from Mercury’s Antennae and was released on YouTube the week leading up to the EP.
In addition to receiving its own remake, “The Guides” also inspired the extended remix and closer, “They Are With Us.” This deep psybient piece filled with slow morphing drones introduces the talents of Luku NetherThot, whose Tuvan-inspired throat singing gives the piece its spiritual and ritualistic feel.
The new release also includes Mercury’s Antennae’s first cover, a recording of David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione.” For this bittersweet acoustic ballad, all the more precious for its obscurity, the duo offers an intense emotional interpretation that extends the ending with veils of multi-layered guitar work.
Fans of Allen’s other projects Mirabilis and This Ascension, 90s-era Projekt favorites Love Spirals Downwards and Lycia, and the haunting, organic and timeless sound of Cocteau Twins will find solace in the subtly textured, mystic dream-pop created by Mercury’s Antennae.
Mercury’s Antennae 2015 tour
June 25: DNA Lounge, San Francisco CA
Reviews Editor –
With roots in ethereal goth pop acts This Ascension and Mirabilis, the wispiness of west coast duo Mercury’s Antennae is no surprise. This distinctive blend of layered acoustic and electric guitars, ambient electronics and soothing voices has been Projekt’s bread and butter for a couple of decades now – cf. Love Spirals Downwards, Autumn’s Grey Solace, Mira, Lycia. What sets MA apart isn’t any kind of innovation – it’s simply experience. Singer Dru Allen has been traversing this territory for longer than most, taking her inspiration less from her peers than from forbears like Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins, and she knows exactly how to exploit the shimmering backdrops provided by instrumentalist Erick Scheid with the proper balance of taste and passion.
The Guides ep acts as adjunct to the band’s 2014 debut A Waking Ghost Inside, offering an acoustic take on the LP’s “Agalia” and a brand new tune, the luscious and lovely title track. Even more interesting, though, are the songs that walk further afield. The band puts their own spin on David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione,” giving the 1969 track a wash of psychedelic guitar gauze and a flickering groove. “They Are With Us” goes for full-on ambient intensity, wordless vocals from Allen and throat singer Luku NetherThot weaving in and out of Scheid’s purring synth swells for eleven mesmerizing minutes.
Though more of a sampler than an actual cohesive statement, The Guides ep makes a good case for Mercury Antennae’s virtues, placing it at the forefront of the movement its singer helped spawn. -Michael Toland
Reviews Editor –
From The Grim Tower
This is a short EP release from Mercury’s Antennae, a two-piece act consisting of Dru Allen on the vocals, with Erick T. Sheid handling everything else. The record was recorded during a recent tour and should serve as a worthy snack in between the band’s next release. It begins with an atmospheric intro, which sounds like wind chimes fluttering in the breeze amidst some other intriguing effects that only help to magnify the experience. Though short, it leads right into the first piece, “The Guides V.2 4:52” which seems to recall a little bit of Unto Ashes, Autumn’s Grey Solace or Mira. Allen’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing, which melds in perfectly with the throat singing (performed especially here by NetherThot LUKU) as she works to demonstrate a ritualistic atmosphere that I would find perfect for calming one’s nerves and aligning one’s spirit. A David Bowie cover of “Letters To Hermione 6:28” (which might be a song that inspired J.K. Rowling’s character of the same name) feels almost acoustic, and a bit sorrowful as a matter of fact. It definitely elicited an unexpected tear from me, despite the floaty electronic whirls in the background which seem to give it a slightly trippy vibe. An acoustic version of “Agalia 5:54” feels both dreary and beautiful, bringing forth a sort of dark beauty that I would only expect from the darkwave genre. It’s emotionally packed with a vocal depth that I absolutely cannot fathom.
The final track on the album is “They Are With Us 11:09” which quite simply ends the album with a thick ritual atmosphere, quite like when Rhea’s Obsession really got going. It’s very deep, truly authentic and packs a punch right to your solar plexus. It feels like a meditation and this affirmation of the guides/guardians seems to make me feel at peace, whilst Allen whispers “they are with us.” Yes, they are truly with us indeed. Those looking for a memorable album of emotions and ritual will most certainly find it here, though I’ll bet that the band’s studio works are even more potent and mind-opening than what I’ve witnessed in this EP release. Rating: 8/10 -Eric May
Reviews Editor –
In allerfeinster Heavenly Voices Manier steigt die aktuelle MECURY’S ANTENNAE EP The Guides empor, die stilecht über den langjährig aktiven US-Verlag PROJEKT RECORDS erscheint, wo seit Anfang der 80er Dark Wave, Ethereal & Ambient Perlen das Licht der Welt erblicken.
PROJEKT RECORDS gibt die völlig erfassende The Guides EP der US-Amerikaner MERCURY’S ANTENNAE (leider) nur in digitaler Form raus, das die Qualität der 5 Tracks auf keinen Fall mindert.
Mutter Natur, unseren stärksten Partner, greifen DRU DELMONICO (Gesang, Lyrics) & ERICK R. SCHEID hinter MERCURY’A ANTENNAE innerhalb ihrer Texte auf, welche über spirituelle bzw. esoterische Züge verfügen, wodurch die Größe reinen Faktenmenschen verborgen bleibt. PS: Wer die Wälder liebt, sollte die EP bei einem Spaziergang hören, wobei sich ein unglaubliches Hörerlebnis einstellt – VERSPROCHEN! PS: Die Coverversion von DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Letter to Hermione‘ versetzt bei zu Augen direkt auf eine riesige Blumenwiese – Wahnsinn!
MERCURY’S ANTENNAE, deren letztes Album A Walking Ghost Inside (2014) knapp ein Jahr zurückliegt, schlug musikalische in die gleiche Kerbe, welches das amerikanisch-schweizerische Duo auf The Guides in Höchstform zelebriert. Sie fusionieren die Stile Dark Wave, Heavenly Voices, Ethereal, Ambient usw. zu einem packenden Gesamtsound, der neben der lieblichen Stimme von DRU DELMONICO auf der feiner Gitarrenarbeit versetzt mit umgarnenden Atmosphären von ERICK R. SCHEID beruht. Anspieltipp? Ein MUSS für alle Heavenly Voices Fans – PUNKT! -RaF