The Mysterines – ‘Reeling’ review: thrilling grunge-rock with supersized swagger

On their electrifying debut album, the Scousers make good on their promise of becoming the UK’s next rock heroes

There’s a mighty noise whipping around the banks of the Mersey right now. For the first time in years, Liverpool’s historic scene is living up to its weighty reputation again. Since the pandemic alone, we’ve seen a bevy of guitar-wielding Scousers take over the airwaves and pack out UK-wide tours; look no further than the rousing post-punk of STONE, the biting social observations of Courting, or the glimmering cosmic pop of Pixey.

The Mysterines have also been pivotal in ensuring that the city’s name is being heard far and wide, but they’ve had to put in the graft to get here. They came up through a local scene that didn’t look quite so rosy a few years back amidst venue closures and tough crowds to please. But they weren’t a band to take no for an answer, and kicked through the noise with their 2020 ‘Love’s Not Enough’ EP, a three-track effort loaded with brilliantly noisy, angsty songs made for the biggest of stages.

The band have built on that explosive energy with their epic debut album ‘Reeling’. Opener ‘Life’s A Bitch (But I Like It So Much)’ tears into the gigantic rock sound that sealed them as such an exciting prospect. Later on, vocalist Lia Metcalfe burns with a sense of emotional turmoil as distorted guitars swell out around her on ‘Hung Up’: “My words like bullets through your heart / But I will keep on trying / Cause I like to watch you dying.”

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That dark and intimate charm isn’t lost in the makings of this record. Metcalfe’s confident attitude is felt at every turn as she opens up on themes of self-destruction and love. Even in the slower, moodier moments she holds all the intensity and drama, elevating these heavy tracks further. A highlight comes in the brooding grunge ballad of ‘Dangerous’: “I was riding the fire / I was down on my knees / Before you said that desire / Oh, it’s such a dangerous thing,” she sings.

‘Reeling’ is gripping throughout, and the band always seem ready to ascend to another level. ‘Old Friends Die Hard’ is a swaggering romp, while the gritty ‘On The Run’ sounds like a ‘Celebrity Skin’-era Hole classic, managing to summon a heartfelt melancholy within its grungy acoustic lines. Elsewhere, ‘The Bad Thing’ is equipped with a shout-along chorus fit for a festival crowd.

After meeting the four-piece on home soil in early 2020, NME touted The Mysterines as a band “poised to be the nation’s next favourite rock gang”. ‘Reeling’ is an album that sees them grab that title – but it doesn’t sound like they ever had any other plan.

Details

the mysterines reeling album

  • Release date: March 11
  • Record label: Fiction Records

 

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