The Mutant Sea is the solo project of Phoenix based songwriter Zak Fischenich. He released a lo-fi self-titled demo The Mutant Sea. The album has a bedroom pop/indie vibe to it.
The album gets going with “Lost on a Mission.” It’s a darker song and I heard hints of Kurt Vile. The song is deceptively catchy but you might miss it because of how lo-fi the song is. Fischenich hits upon a more playful, light vibe on “A Kindred Heart” which works much better with bedroom aesthetics. The guitars are fairly clean with just a touch of crunch and the electronic percussion sounds good in the song.
“Truly Love” is somewhere between Deerhunter and a ’50s pop song. It’s a fairly catchy song with some good lead guitar. The vocals are solid but I wanted some more dynamics. They felt a little too subdued for the song. The song would have felt better at around three-minutes in length.
“Enclosure Spires” starts promising with catchy bass and guitar melodies. The song is off-kilter in a good way. Its lack of vocals was not an issue and I felt the song was one of the highlights in the batch.
“Blue and Gold” had the potential to be the centerpiece. It felt instantly catchy but again I was hoping for more dynamics. I needed a crescendo or two or an elevated chorus to really bring it home. “Miss Amelia” is arguably the catchiest song in the batch. “8 2 8 2 8” has a match rock section with vocals that almost follow the guitar pattern. He closes with the melancholy and atmospheric “Truth and Understanding.”
The Mutant Sea seems like a project that would benefit from getting out of the bedroom. I think a talented group of musicians particularly in the bass and drums department playing in a room would make a considerable difference to the dynamics. As an engineer myself I had a little difficulty getting past how lo-fi this was but on the same token there is no denying there are some solid songs.
I look forward to hearing more from Fischenich as the project evolves because I felt like there was a lot of talent as well as potential.
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