Last year I spoke with Mere Women singer and keyboardist Amy Wilson about life in between bursts of band activity. It included a stint living in a rural town, where the expanse and isolation of the country’s interior was evident. The mixture of freedom and loneliness she felt is reflective of the double-edged nature of regional living. Despite being more central geographically than any of Australia’s coastal capitols, those living in rural Australia exist on the fringes, where opportunities are fewer and far between. Though there are plenty of individuals living at peace outside of the big smoke, the isolation of such communities can magnify and enhance precarious societal issues. Bad situations can linger simply because of a lack of other options, and the ability to address such issues is hampered by a lack of attention/funding/thought given outside of city centres.
Those in minorities (racial and gender) face a particularly tough time. I think this was something Amy experienced acutely, and those experiences have been funnelled into the newest batch of work from Mere Women. Other sources have stated that Mere Women’s forthcoming album (out around June through Poison City Records) will touch on this issue more thoroughly, with a critique of rural disconnection and problems facing women in regional isolation.
As for ‘Big Skies’ itself, well, it’s an expansive and engrossing track, pairing Mere Women’s signature intensity with a thicker sonic palate. The pointed riffs are there, but there is a hazy veneer coating everything and a greater presence of a low-end that bolsters the overall sound. Where previously Mere Women flew closer to the ground, dishing out lightning strikes of pointed noise with precision, ‘Big Skies’ feels as if the band is ascending a bit higher – casting its signature maelstrom of noise further afield. ‘Big Skies’ is a storm on the horizon – whipping your hair about your head and building anticipation with hints of petrichor and cracking noise. There is a feeling of space that is reminiscent of rural plains, as if something wicked this way comes. I’m into it, and I can imagine the album will have me similarly enraptured.