Plastic Mermaids, from the Isle of Wight, have steadily built a rare and glittering world that stretches far beyond their island vistas, one that’s gravitational pull is irresistible. We went to see them live at The Lexington last week.
Blasting off with ‘1996’ from their impending debut album, Suddenly Everyone Explodes, the oddball anthem exemplifies their lofty scope whilst simultaneously referencing their own nonplussed dealings with modernity and the digital age.
Separated by a body of water, the Isle of Wight also exists within its own temporal dimension, forever playing catch up with mainland England. The five-piece band have cultivated this sentiment with aplomb. A DIY band in most senses of the definition, Plastic Mermaids have accumulated a heady mixture of analogue equipment over the past decade and this fascination-come-borderline obsession has seen them forge an absorbing, quasi-retro sound that lies in the expanse between The Flaming Lips and Sigur Rós, yet have one foot firmly in the future.
“…the lower level of The Lexington floor gazed lovingly throughout.”
‘Alaska’ followed immediately after, obviously a fan-favourite as the entire mob that occupied the lower level of The Lexington floor gazed lovingly throughout. It was only lead vocalist Douglas Richard’s pained introduction post-track that burst their cosmic bubble, but the initial lack of spark was compensated by their kaleidoscopic imagination.
‘Floating in a Vacuum’, ‘Polaroids’, and ‘Paris Milkshake’, all self-produced in their homemade studio, indicate the band’s meticulous dedication to crafting lush, scenic journeys in the space of a few minutes that burst into life on the stage. There was room for manoeuvre, however, namely the sci-fi synth wig-out mid-set.
With three acclaimed EP’s behind them, Plastic Mermaids have incrementally amassed a cult following. Their penchant for elaborate stage aesthetics lends itself to the summer festival circuit, from which they seemingly wooed Rob Da Bank; a Metropolis-inspired mannequin that doubled as a disco-ball, an unnatural complex of gizmos, and a dazzling three-piece choir draped in gold tinsel were all present at the sold-out show.
Band affiliate Rhain, one of the three supporting vocalists’ contribution to the set-closer and 7-minute opus, ‘Saturn’, was truly immense, lifting the track’s tentative, organic intro to delirious operatic heights, outgrowing the confines of the independent venue.
Subsequent applause and an encore came next, though even before that, Plastic Mermaids delivered an extravagant hour-long performance worthy of their fanciful psychedelic forebears, leaving the Lexington crowd dazed, but enthused.