It’s not the first time I have ventured to North London to see Isle of White band, Plastic Mermaids. Last year, it was their gig supporting Caveman at The Lexington bar. This year, I headed to one of the more intimate rooms of Angel’s Electrowerkz, excitingly expectant for Plastic Mermaids to raise their musical bar.
Plastic Mermaids are Douglas Richards, Jamie Richards, Chris Jones, Tom Farren and Chris Newnham; five guys with a broad range of sound and an impactful performance. Imagine the funky sounds of Simon Neil’s band ‘Marmaduke Duke’ mixed with Strfkr’s quirky vocals and White Lies pop electronic sounds.
‘Painted Lady’ reminded me of band Alt J, with hints of alternative progression and random sounds swinging throughout. A pressing chorus afforded the track anthem status within its own right. The bare acoustics of song ‘Playing in Your Mind’ - taken from the band’s ‘Inhale the Universe EP’ – was a quieter piece; buzzing synth effects blended seamlessly with guitar and drums towards the end.
Track ‘Polaroids’ taken from Plastic Mermaid’s ‘Dromtorp EP’ - gained instant recognition with the crowd, who became increasingly captivated as the band gave their all. Choir sounding pads were finger drummed on a midi controller whilst the guitar was skilfully played like a cello. ‘Saturn’ was equally strong; instrumental and sci-fi sounding. Eerie synths and violin sounds became the backdrop to a guest operatic appearance; a unique treat for the Electrowerkz crowd.
The band’s performance of song ‘For Nothing’ also differed from the original. A much darker version was presented, featuring bold guitars, kicking percussion and a heavier drop, transforming the song into a real rock ‘n’ roll track that the crowd enjoyed. A welcome departure from the already strong original, I was left wishing that they delved down this darker route more. A clavia-like organ effect on the piano signalled the beginning of ‘Fire Hands’. Then, bursting out with an overdriven guitar solo, sustained electric piano and synth lead, Plastic Mermaids once again changed the tempo.
Diversity permeated the set; one moment subdued pop, the next, darkly heavy with plenty of bass and synth. Electronic gear, looping pedals and layering vocals, created an alternative and experimental ambiance. Diversity also dominated the band’s skillset; the whole band sharing percussion and switching roles throughout the length of the show.
Loud, fast and rhythmic, Plastic Mermaids offer xylophones, megaphones, maracas, bells, crazy floral patterned shirts and so much more.