Premiere: MERE WOMEN – ‘SPELL’

Words: James Frostick
Band image: Jaclyn Paterson

Hypnotic Sydney-based post-punk four-piece Mere Women return with news of a new full-length album rumbling just over the horizon. Precipitating the release of the record later in 2019, the band is teasing us with fresh single ‘Spell’,  a track that explores the notion of breaking away from bewitching coercion, rediscovering autonomy and the feeling of freedom.

Self-determination and the notion of individual freedom is indisputably important, but also something easily taken for granted and abused – especially by those on the dominant end of a power dynamic. Relationships are an area where abuse, controlling behaviours and a sacrifice of autonomy often occur. Despite these bullying characteristics (which might be easily recognisable to everyone involved), it’s not always simple to remove one’s self from coercive and abusive relationships. This figurative spell (or curse, depending on your perception) is the thematic basis for Mere Women’s new single. ‘Spell’ marks the band’s return ahead of a new album, and they’ve chosen to lead off with a suitably dark track, both tonally and conceptually.

From the outset, ‘Spell’ is urgent and unsettling – two signature elements of Mere Women’s sound, but here they’re carrying a bit of extra emphasis. The track doesn’t simply let tension build, it places it front and centre from the opening guitar crunch and percussive crash – a crushing and oppressive weight that sits laboriously on the heart. Vocalist Amy Wilson’s haunting articulations – part pained cry, part operatic release – is placed at the centre of the sonic maelstrom, lamenting the spell she’s under. Harnessing the fury about her, Amy draws a line in the proverbial sand, reclaiming her sense of self and wresting freedom away from the clutches of the other.

What you’ve done \ I’m talking about \ your control \ I’m letting it out

On ‘Spell’, Mere Women skilfully articulate the inner chaos and agony felt when personal freedoms are stymied. Whether at the hands of an abusive and controlling partner, held sway by outdated societal pressures, or subject to oppressive governance/systemic limitations, the loss of self and personal liberty is akin to jail. It takes courage and strength to break these curses, but when choosing between subjugation or emancipation,  such exorcisms are always worthwhile.

Have a listen to ‘Spell’ – and be mesmerised by the moody visuals directed by David Robinson and shot by Jaclyn La Guardia – here:

‘Spell’ will feature on Mere Women’s forthcoming full-length record (their fourth), which is set for a 2019 release through Poison City Records. Mere Women will be playing live on Saturday May 18 at 96 tears in Sydney with support from Spike Vincent and Chemical Restraint, and at DARK MOFO’s Night Mass on June 14 and 15.