MIEN is a modern psych-rock supergroup and the band’s debut, self-titled album lives up to and surpasses any hype. The members are Alex Maas (The Black Angels), Tom Furse (The Horrors), John-Mark Lapham (The Earlies) and Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone) and through traces of those bands we arrive at a new sound – part shoegaze (Ropes), part psych-rock (Black Habit), a little bit of horror-movie soundscape (Other).
It’s an assured debut, filled with huge collective experience and over a decade in the making.
The seeds of this collaboration date back to the early 2000s – Maas and Dhir meeting, then Lapham being on the same bill at festivals too, flash forward a few years and Dhir is playing bass with The Black Angels – and, well, from there…
So now we have the best of The Horror’s rocking fuzz-drenched indie-pop (Odyssey) and good old Krautrock-influenced jamming (Black Habit – which rides along on KISS’ Detroit Rock City-bassline if played properly).
Lapham’s sonic experimentation is to the fore on the huge sound of Echolia, and there are sprinklings of the Elephant Stone sitar magic from Dhir, particularly on the scene-setting opener, Earth Moon.
That song is revisited to close the record (Earth Moon – Reprise) and the sitar is replaced by a gently fingerpicked guitar, the textures and rhythms subdued, flattened somewhat – for a darker, moodier experience.
In just 10 songs and 42 minutes MIEN create a whole new world – familiar enough to fans of the members’ other works, but fresh and interesting and sonically diverse; enough to sell you on a new sound, a new favourite band. A must for anyone interested in the retro-rock/modern-psych movement from the last decade or so.
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