INTERVIEW: Mt. Misery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Jodie Canwell

Hartlepool’s Mt. Misery return with a new self-recorded, self-released EP offering a sun-soaked, spellbinding moment that is somehow a touch melancholic in its daydreaming nostalgia-laden sound. As an EP, The Time It Takes offer up a quartet of tunes that are perfect indie pop gems. But the feeling it provokes seems pertinent for this time of uncertainty and reconnection.

Fans of the band’s work will be familiar with their brand of sincere, unapologetically melodic two-and-a-half minute wonders – evoking a lineage of British bands enamoured with the rose-tinted glow of Americana – amply demonstrating the skill that goes into writing ‘simple’ pop songs. Immediately recognisable but unique lyrics that are universal-but-specific, and a sound that is comforting are all key ingredients. Each song has that perfect balance of melodic catchiness and sonic complexity, meaning you could listen to it on the bus whilst your mind wanders, or you can sit and pore over each detail, catch little nuanced sounds low in the mix and enjoy their clarity.

To capture this sound is an achievement, but to do so from a home recording is even more impressive. As singer and guitarist Andrew explained: “Being in a band is expensive, so we self-recorded the album in a garage.” That home-made quality shines through in songs that are grounded and honest, literally of the home, lyrics that quietly talk about love and longing, memories and moments. But the actual production of the EP sounds far from home-made. “We’ve really worked on expanding the sound. [guitarist] Ste got a melodica for Christmas or a birthday or something, so he’s been putting that on everything.” Melodica – essential for the cover of You And Me Song by The Wannadies – organ and nylon string guitar all help to produce an enriched and varied pallet.

Immediately recognisable but unique lyrics that are universal-but-specific, and a sound that is comforting are all key ingredients

Time and memory are a running theme connecting these songs together. “This wasn’t really a conscious thing, but yeah, I guess it’s there in the tracks,” says Andrew. Both The Time it Takes and the EP’s standout track Memory are both concerned with time and remembrance, a feeling amplified by a cover of a song that was nostalgic for 60s bossa nova chic even when it was released in the 90s (nostalgia folding on top of nostalgia in that way pop music does so beautifully). This doesn’t come across as kitsch in Mt. Misery’s work. It maintains a genuine reflectiveness, even melancholy through the shimmering sunshine of the sound, like that feeling you get on a Sunday afternoon; a little tinge of longing for something you can’t quite put your finger on. And that feeling, that reflection on times immediately lost, that sense of something not quite here, only just missing, is a perfect sentiment for this weird lost time moment.

The band are undertaking a “mini-tour” in September, and as Andrew notes, these new tracks were written to be performed for an audience. Discussing the equally impressive debut album Once Home, No Longer, he adds:The old songs are good, but not as fun to play live. We had that live context in mind with this EP.”

Mt. Misery’s heartfelt bedroom tunes will shine in a live context, and will become a key part of the soundtrack to the back end of 2022.

Mt. Misery release The Time It Takes EP on 19th August. 


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