THERE are a few musical basics that form the backbone of pop music and Oh Mercy have thrown most of them out the window with their swooning new album.
The Brisbane indie-pop group’s national tour starts in Warrnambool tomorrow night at The Loft in support of their Deep Heat LP.
Oh Mercy’s latest release, recorded in Portland, Oregon, is free of rhythm guitar and drum cymbals, leaving a unique sound as the band sought different ways to replace the gap left by the missing instruments.
The band’s frontman Alex Gow said recording without acoustic guitar and almost no piano meant getting creative in the studio.
“We’re not playing guitar basically at all and bass and drums are the driving force, so there’s a different aesthetic,” he told Offbeat.
“All the chord changes are implied by the bass guitar, which is unique to the album and a point of difference.”
The decision to record without cymbals was the result of happenstance while travelling to the US, according to Gow.
“Our drummer lost his cymbals over there so it was a convenient mishap,” he said.
“We took it as sign and rolled with the no cymbal thing.
“Cymbals are used to extenuate changes in the music from verse to chorus so we had to use other things to help make those changes interesting.
“We ended up using lots of delays and vocal infractions to replace that space.
“The album is so different to the last one so the live show is fundamentally different.
“There’s been great reviews for it so far, but it’s all been kind of what we were expecting.
“I probably could’ve written the reviews myself — music journalists tend to be fairly predictable.”
Deep Heat oozes with glitter rock and disco dance vibes, so it’s no surprise Gow listed glam and post-punk bands from the 1970s and 1980s as heavy influences on the band’s new sound.
“David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Clash, Moxie Music had lots of influence,” he said.
“There was a great swagger to those artists and I love the way they affected people at a bar or house party.
“People just want to dance to those bands when they weren’t even dance music.
“It’s sexy and sultry.
“I’ve always loved those artists and wanted to see if I could make people move as well.
“I know I will be dancing.”
Supporting Oh Mercy will be Brisbane garage-pop boys Millions, who release their new single Nineteen tomorrow night.
The single was mixed by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes’ Is This It).