Mice on Mercury is an indie band from Philadelphia, PA, consisting of Katie Brady-Gold (lead vocalist), Clay Lewis (producer) and Via Dell’Angelo (lead songwriter). Both Brady-Gold and Lewis are high school students and the band was formed during quarantine. Many bands during lockdown are depending more and more on technology to get their music out there. Mice on Mercury is one of these bands. They approached this project with the only instruments either incorporating cleared samples, free plugins or stock plugins. Even their vocals were all recorded using Voice Memos on the iPhone. Surprisingly, this approach did not diminish the quality of the vocals which really seemed to shine on this album. The band’s sound on their latest Morpho EP is in the vein of indie bedroom pop and fully utilizes their lo-fi-ness in getting across their sparse but intimate sound.
Right away Morpho EP gets going with “Ihms,” where some ambient synths meet the intro of this track. Next, some keys trickle in. A drumming beat slowly eases in as well. Once the vocals come in, the smooth vibes are right away apparent. The male and female vocals are cool and the music is both chill and mellow. The blend has a real bluesy lounge vibe to it that felt great to relax to. On “Stranger,” an acoustic guitar accompanied by programmed beats greets the opening of this song. The vocals are touched by a dash of distortion. The effects made for a strong sound. The overlapping vocal layers really honed into a dynamic front. I loved the minimalistic approach. It really opened new avenues for emotional resonance.
On “Connection,” more melodic guitars start off this track. Percolating beats goes on to add traction. I greatly enjoyed the vocal delivery here. I could feel myself being buoyed by the weightless sounds. Some ambient sounding piano starts off “How You Feel.” This felt like a light-hearted song filled with levity and hope. The piano solo and overlapping vocal harmonies were very invigorating. I thought this was a great way to close the album.
The EP surrounds around the premise of transformation. The first half tells a story about a person dealing with “hopelessness, self-hate and problems with relationships they have.” The second half is about this person’s transformation toward a more confident and self-assured self. Being in high school, the band wanted to talk about things that they deal with and the EP is very much a reflection of this. The album art cover, which the band states is an image of the Blue Morpho butterfly, figures in the themes of metamorphosis and change. The butterfly is seen emerging from its cocoon, surfacing as a brand-new self. I think this could be used as a metaphor for the band’s minimalistic sound that recalls an old school R&B feel. Inspired by the soulful and bluesy delivery of ‘90s era pop and R&B, Morpho is a chill EP that adds momentum to the genre. You can see Mice on Mercury furthering the aforementioned umbrellas, and thereby transcending the R&B and indie bedroom pop genres with their own unique flavorings. They take something old and add in their own context of modern. What takes centerstage is a real cool blend that will speak to fans nostalgic for another period as well as newer generations of fans getting familiarized to the genres for the first time. Worth exploring from start to finish, be sure you give this a spin!
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