Mermaid Kiss

Review of Etarlis.

new 1. Prelude (2.01)
A classy orchestral intro which is very promising. The cause of this classical feeling is Andrews new synhesizer; this one is capable to give you the feeling that there is a big orchestra involved.
Brahms and/or Beethoven would be proud of such prelude. An piano outro leeds us to the more uptempo rockier second song.
2. A Different Sky (5.27)
A strong intro with all the "rock" instruments involved. Evelyns beautiful voice is leading us into the fairytale world of Etarlis. The lyrics are mysterious and aplying to your imagination of your first steps on Etarlis. A splendid guitar solo makes the song complete and you're eager to hear more.
3. Walking With Ghosts (3.59)
A dark sound followed by flute & oboe gives you the feeling that a ghost walks in your room. Real spooky and well done. A more relaxed ambient song, with enough layers to explore. The flute carries this song deeper and deeper into the new world.
4. Dark Cover (4.36)
Don't why but this excellent intro does remind me of the mighty Floyd. A laughter mixed into this subtile intro makes it real top.
The lyrics are as dark as the title and match perfectly with the sounds. Evelyn is almost screaming...
A fantastic guitar solo which would be not misplaced on a new David Gilmour album... In fact Nigel used 2 guitars to lay down a peaceful guitar fight.
5. Nowhere To Hide (7.08)
Church bells are calling you and then there is another voice; Kate Belcher is in charge now. She has a etheral voice simular to Evelyn, maybe a bit darker and more sensual, so it's a pleasure to listen to her story.
Another more ambient song with some earthly sounds, like a sample of didgereedo, and strange drums pattrens. The amazing synths are giving again that full loaded orchestral feeling. I would say that this songs grows to a classical movement. And the outro of the oboe makes that statement come more true.
6. Siren Song (3.12)
An acoustic guitar takes us by the hand to the storytelling voice of of Kate. Accompaniened by flute and more folk, this songs leads you to the seashore.
7. A Sea Change (7.07)
(a) The Lighthouse
(b) The Running Tide
(c) In Deep
(d) Slide and Sway
(e) In Deep
An epic with 5 movements. 2 instrumentals tracks and 3 with few words. The words are reflecting the mood of the songs perfectly.
A slow start on piano and synthesizers. Then a classical opening by Evelyn. Followed by those magic pipes of Troy Donockley and Evelyn on flute (okay a wink to Mostly Autumn is allowed). And just as you've recovered from the beat of an Peter Gabrielesque drum rhythm Jonathan Edwards (ex-Karnataka, now in Panic Room) leads you to an awesome freaky keyboard solo.
8. Shadow Girl (4.03)
Kate is stealing the show again, with her magical fragile voice. Again a more ambient piece of art with some great flute playing by Evelyn. Close your eyes and enjoy.
9. Beat The Drum (6.35)
Yes they beat the drum on this one! A guitar takes over the drums and Evelyn starts with another story in a rocky uptempo surrounding.
10. Crayola Skies (5.34)
A sweet lullabye wih some nice piano play.
11. The City Of Clouds (Qway-Lin) (10.30)
Another highlight and another epic. Everything what an epic needs is in there and it's adventureous, it has spoken words, excellent guitar play and all the other things that makes this album such a great pleasure are coming back. An hugh grand finale...

This album is unbelievable well crafted and is a pleasure the listen to it over and over again and explore the magic world of Etarlis.
Some bands needs years and years to make such a mature album, but they did it with the third stroke and that is really a big compliment for this young band.
The cd has a great flow and a lot of layers you can explore by listening it over and over again. And all those layers makes this ambient kind of album really worthed to give a shot.
I really liked their previous work but this one willl definitaly ends in my top 5 of 2007.
I think that everyone who likes Iona, Karnataka, or a more ambient Mostly Autumn will love this.
But watch out; when the beautiful voices of the Mermaids have reached you ears, you will be lost and play them over over again...


Musicians on the new album are:

Evelyn Downing: lead and harmony vocals, flute

Jamie Field: acoustic guitars and occasional electric guitar and backing vocals

Andrew Garman: keyboards, bass, drums, percussion

Nigel Hooton: lead and rhythm electric and acoustic guitars.

Kate Belcher: lead & harmony vocals on ‘Nowhere To Hide’, ‘Siren Song’ and ‘Shadow Girl’.

Wendy Marks: cor anglais, oboe, recorders.

Jonathan Edwards: keyboard solo on ‘The Running Tide’ ex-Karnataka, Panic Room).

Troy Donockley: uilleann pipes on ‘Slide And Sway’.

A own website explains the concept of the album, gives you an impression of the artwork and a change to listen to a few samples:


Pictures By Chris Walkden/ live at Crewe.




Updated 06-09-06 by Nick.
Graeme Thanks!!!