Bonnie and the Mere Mortals, a band from Appalachia, Pennsylvania that blend analog, Gothic with Americana, digital, and vintage with new sound to create their own unique upbeat fusions, will be releasing their new album, Southern Gothic, on Friday, January 7th. The band falls in between artists such as Orville Peck and Depeche Mode, kind of like a black-clad Dolly Parton. Mixing backwoods influences with goth influences, the band’s objective with their art is to show that the two are not too different from each other!
I had the opportunity to listen the new album and I can definitely hear different combinations of spunky blends of the above influences in each song. One common theme that Bonnie and the Mere Mortals is getting in touch with inner emotions and conflicts. When I listened to the first song, “Call of the Void”, I could relate it to experiencing a pain that is hard to escape with echoing guitar chords and lyrics such as “When you throw these thoughts into my mouth, it’s a lot to chew”. Bonnie and the Mere Mortals take on a spin-off of the classic song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with the second song, “Carry Me Home”, which is full of folk and Western influence. With steady set of guitar riffs it gives me an impression of two lovers giving into temptation. “Just sing it a little louder love, I promise I’m listenin”.
Bonnie and the Mere Mortals also expresses overcoming negative experiences in Southern Gothic. Their third song off the album, “Call Me Salt”, gives me vibes of perseverance during a weak time. This twangy, velvety- sounding song provokes emotion with lines like “Call me strong; reassurance couldn’t hurt”. “Without Me”, with it’s breezy and edgy dynamics reminds of claiming independence and dropping a negative relationship. Similarly, the next song, an edgy country and rock blend, “CURSES”, expresses the desire for someone to feel regret through “Everyday, everyday curses”.
The album, however, shifts me to remember past connections and emotions. The ballad “Sarah” full of progressive drums and guitar, speaks of an estranged father realizing his daughter’s strength through adversities, including the lyrics “Sarah, sorry I never knew”. The melodic and dynamic “Darkness Doesn’t Leave” reminds me that life can go on after a good-bye with the signature line “Darkness doesn’t leave because you walked on”. “Whiskey on the Porch” has jazz, folk, and digital influences, made me think of past loves with lyrical imagery such as “You’re cold whiskey on the porch, the winds in my hair, and the magnolia blooms”. Full of Western and digital guitar riffs, “Fiery Eyes”, brings vibes of letting go of love with the line “Fair thee well, fair thee well, Fiery eyes”. To top off the album, Bonnie and the Mere Mortals brings me a change of vibes with “The Crone, The Holler, The Mystic”. This particular song with a whimsical and digital light guitar painted a picture of a free-spirited girl who is easy to love, and emphasizes her personality with lyrics such as, “You found her, her eyes like a dream you’d hate to dream”.
Bonnie and the Mere Mortals is having release party at The Spirit in Pittsburgh on January 7, known as Album Release Rodeo with plenty of events, such as music, drag, get- ups, and a $50 tattoo certificate for the best hat. Be sure to be on the lookout for other upcoming material from Bonnie and the Mere Mortals! Even though I’m used to faster-paced music, I enjoyed how this album infused a lot of elements from diverse genres. I hope that Bonnie and the Mere Mortals can keep on experimenting with these as they create more nostalgic and colorful work! Find tickets and event information at the link below.