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Plastic Mermaids Make Waves at Village Underground

Photo by Leon Lewis

The rough, exposed brick walls of a Victorian warehouse held host to Isle of Wight-based five-piece Plastic Mermaids, as they ended their tour in East London’s Village Underground on Tuesday. Confluent with such a rustic, unconventional venue, sonic experimentation and intense crescendos have been characteristic features of their music since their first track ‘Polaroids’ in 2014. The band has grown steadily since their 2019 debut album Suddenly Everyone Explodes.

Complete with backing singers, a violinist and a cellist, as well as the band’s vast assortment of instruments from a synthesiser to guitars and maracas, the stage was cluttered, but deceptively so. During the rhythmically addictive ‘Girl Boy Girl’, the stage seemed far from crowded, and the band were afforded a surprising freedom. Interacting with each other in the way that bands do, and all moving swiftly from one instrument to the next, the scene had a fluid rush that no audience member could resist bopping their heads or stepping their feet to.

Playing to their strengths, the undoubtable highlights of the night were the moments when a false sense of stability was instilled within the crowd. You would suddenly find yourself submerged in an eclectic cacophony of organised chaos, making you feel like you’re riding the wave of a build-up or crashing through a chorus, which induced a state of euphoria among the audience. If there’s one thing that Plastic Mermaids do well, it’s delivering incredible crescendos on tracks like ‘Elastic Time’ and ‘Marbles, Pt.2’, that are simply not done justice by the recordings.

Another fascinating element of the band’s music is their ability to float in-between genres, allowing them to explore everything from electronic and indie rock, to sentimental piano ballads on ‘Something Better’, that builds up to the emotional climax of their latest work It’s Not Comfortable To Grow. The band's uniqueness, and their inability to be pigeonholed, brought a modest crowd to the small venue, which lead-singer Douglas Richards was humbly surprised to see.

The voice of Richards began harshly, irregular and shifting, and cast the band’s live adaptation of their music in doubt. But title track ‘It’s Not Comfortable To Grow’ came and went, and switching to an auto-tuned microphone, any initial hiccups seemed to fade away completely. Despite a few more technical issues, such as an occasionally screeching microphone during the latter half of the performance, Plastic Mermaids presented themselves as a group of resolute confidence, and one certainly capable of filling bigger venues in the years to come.

‘Yoyo’ ended the night with the crowd singing its heartfelt chorus: "Why are you holding on to me?" The temptation to close your eyes and drift into the intensity of the audience singing all around you was nothing less than potent.

Plastic Mermaids definitely have a future in the British music scene, and their live performances are a must-see for fans. With the band members selling merch after the show, a real sense of community was created, and the performance, although being less aesthetically glamorous, was impassioned, distinctive and welcoming.

To keep up with Plastic Mermaids, be sure to check out their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor


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