Fresh from several EP’s from her band The Secret Storm, Lauren Hoffman returns to solo work creating her most diverse genre-hopping album to date with ‘Mercury Girls’. Delicately waltzing through various topics, sounds and genres, ‘Mercury Girls’ switches up what we can expect from a Lauren Hoffman album whilst still being unmistakably her throughout.
‘Heartbreak & Tacos’ – a dinner I’m sure I’ve had before – opens up with jazzy chamber-pop fuzzies as the piano and brass led arrangement. It begins an exploration of songs that speak of different types of addictions lyrically. Whilst this song plays rhythmically with a smacking thought of an old love to the face, ‘The Chemical’ plays with swirling insidious melodies. Here love is compared to a drug and Lauren states it was written after the news of Scott Weiland’s death. Here the piano acts as a bell toll whilst the increasingly more chaotic rock side escalates. It is a standout track that moves through so much of what makes the album great.
‘Mercury Girls’, the title track, continues Hoffman’s association with other planets and the women who frequent them. Its waltzing piano and cello ballad feels like the narrative backbone to set up all the other songs and their struggles. Its sister track is ‘Shadow of the Moon’. The dark acoustic ballad feels like a soul letting about the darkest depths of despair in the addiction you face. Its easily in Lauren Hoffman’s top 10 tracks she’s penned and it breaks my heart upon every listen.
Throughout the latter half of the album, there’s a punchy blues element that seeps in. ‘Fix Me Up Love’ is quintessential Hoffman. Its rock that simmers whilst being quirkily depressed at the same time. ‘Lost Cause’ harks back to the two-finger salutes that Megeddio was so good at. Its the most punk the album becomes and it’s also a rallying cry to quit the men these mercury girls are addicted to. ‘Sunrise at the Apocalypse’ has the best use of a dance anthem lyric in a chamber rock track. The playful melody and joyous Beatles production are perfectly at odds at the breakdown going on in the lyrics. There is even a gospel-tinged outro – something I’d never have thought our Rock Star or Termite girl would have played with. It works a treat.
At just eight tracks, my only tiny gripe is that it is over before the half-hour mark hits. What is here is distilled brilliance though. ‘Mercury Girls’ effortlessly bounds across sounds and thoughts, wraps it up in a cohesive and thoughtful narrative and then waves goodbye. Much like the albums subject matter, it leaves you craving more and you’ll be pressing repeat before you know it.
Recommended track: The Chemical
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