There's a certain flavor and tone that defined what I got from Bonnie And The Mere Mortals and their EP Tennessee. That flavor is bittersweet. A lot of charm and lonesome, hunting lyrics combined with a southern sweetness. Now don't let the EP name fool you, the band hails from Pittsburgh. The band has an eclectic mix of tastes. I think there was a splash of everything put into the music here. It's a curious album, somewhere between goth wave and Americana. I appreciate this EP mostly for the mini evolution that takes place in terms of mood and tempo.
"Tennessee" kicks off with a dangerous and quick tune that races and spins. It seems to be engineered to disorient and spin the listener's wheels. There's a little touch of a gothic surf vibe in here blended generously with Americana. The road is dark and winding with vocalist Bonnie Ramone talking the helm and navigating the wicked and wild weather. Her voice is powerful and foreboding. I really dig it.
"Hold Fast" seems as though we've found an eye in the storm whipped up by "Tennessee." Here the gothic Americana really hits home. There isn't the same sense of thrash urgency, but there is this hidden math rock element in here that I found very refreshing and unexpected. I'm a sucker for pleasant surprises. That's what this song is in a nutshell. Track three is "309" and now it sounds like we're getting a little sun peeking through the clouds. The lyrics still hold onto to a more somber mood, but again, I was taken by surprise. I did not expect something so hopeful and ambient and yet it still works. In fact it fits like a glove.
The final two tracks are sort of like icing on a cake, lovely little additives. "It All Ends Like This” is a live performance. It's an intimate performance and the clouds do come back to darken the skies here, and I welcomed them with open arms. It's a beautiful song, especially in the lyrics department. Via a Bandcamp exclusive you'll get that distinctly hopeful tune "309" again in acoustic form. The vocals on this track are truly stunning, the song clearly was meant to be shown off this way. Production on here was aces - a bare bones approach was just what the doctor ordered.
If you're looking for a healthy dose of girl power and elegant brooding, Tennessee is a fine concoction to wrap your lips around. While dark and mysterious, this EP is never desolate. There are thick veins of sticky sweet nectar pumping through this music and it's delicious. I highly recommend checking this one out and try to not be surprised or at least raise an eyebrow. This one has that subtle something special.
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