New Music: Friday Roll Out! With Meernaa

It hasn’t been a slow week, in fact, it’s been quite strenuous. There’s no need to bore anyone with details but being pulled in multiple directions at the same time will put anyone in a foul mood. Does that mean I’m in a foul mood? Far from it. Whenever life tries to kick me or hardcore stomp me into the ground, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and keep moving forward. Focusing time on that negativity wastes too much energy.

Most anyone can start a band, level their songs to 11, and drench them with wallowing feedback and distortion. And while many do, that’s not part of Meernaa modus operandi, they’re something quite different. The band just released its new album Heart Hunger (Native Cat) which is an album that eschews contemporary conformity for something quite unique.

Now while the project may direct attention to a name, Oakland’s Meernaa is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Carly Bond with the help of her bandmate/husband Rob Shelton, as well as other members doubling as engineers and session musicians at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studios. But it’s Meernaa we’re focusing on here. There’s nothing misleading on Heart Hunger, as the group moves seamlessly starting with the airy “Backroads” where Bond’s dreamy vocals are accentuated by lulling keyboards, and a rhythm that’s equal parts hypnotizing and soothing. Meernaa pulls out all the stops from beginning to end. “Wells” dives deep into a 70s-esque lite R&B aesthetic, all the while keeping feet firmly planted in the 21st century as guitars strum softly with an entrancing rhythm.

Fortunately, the band never stays stagnantly still on the keyboard-driven “Ready To Break” where guitars eventually power through, taking over the song with fingered leads, and Bond’s wistful cooing. But it’s the band’s more subdued tracks that are the attention grabbers much like “Black Diamond Mine” and “Ridges,” the latter of which is much more challenging as vocal dynamics sift and shift through effects. Repetitive motions aren’t repetitious and are fervently welcomed here. It’s so easy to fall in love with Bond’s voice, soothing from track to track, and on the closing “Bluffs,” it’s no different with sweet and soft melodies captured at every turn as piano and bass leads the track into it’s ultimate and beautiful end.

With Heart Hunger, it seems Meerna does everything absolutely right, down to ever single nuance. Every note and sound is placed within the mix for a reason, but the bigger picture here is the band’s blatant drive to create something that at times, sounds all too perfect.

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