New Zealand band Mermaidens share the new video for their single “Satsuma”, taken from the forthcoming album Perfect Body, which is due out on 4 August via Flying Nun. Mixing eye-popping colours and stunning visuals with an enjoyably retro aesthetic, the video features band members Gussie Larkin and Lily West in a fantasy world, where everything is just a little off-kilter – from the toxic greens to taxidermy on the walls and a real life rabbit. The song is dark and brooding and a little sinister, about the struggle of an aging relationship. Drawing inspiration from bands like Warpaint, Fugazi, Exploded View and Sleater-Kinney, Mermaidens’ sound offers a mesmerising dip into the realms of post-punk and psych.
The video was premiered by The 405 who wrote, "Making use of cohesive '60s/'70s aesthetics, highly-rebloggable colour blocking, and the sort of eerie command of mood that connects Italian horror director Dario Argento, David Lynch, and the recently revitalised psychomagic pioneer Alejandro Jodorowsky, it's a perfect fit with the actual song."
The video was filmed and directed by Ezra Simons, with concept and styling by Gussie and art direction by Lily. It was shot in Gussie’s parent’s 70’s house in Wellington, NZ, which had been done up in the 80’s by a big nightclub owner. As she explains; “There’s lots of sleazy features like a grey leather ‘conversation pit’, black marble faux fireplace and of course a sauna and indoor pool. We were really lucky to have access to such a cinematic environment.” Her parents had amassed quite a collection of 60s space age furniture art and clothes, and Gussie also had spent years collecting vintage clothing, books, accessories and props, which were used to their full advantage in the video.
The video references the representation of women in the 1970s and the many archetypes of what women are expected to be. As Gussie says; “I love all the adverts and editorials in magazines from that time – some of which we feature in the video. There’s something grotesque about these women who are supposed to be sexy, domestic and intelligent at the same time. Their outfits are really great though!”
The song exemplifies the band’s sound, with warm harmonies and dreamy, hypnotic lyrics, entwined with dark and moody riff-based melodies. Although the song is about bad relationships, where it can be hard letting go of a life built together, it ends optimistically with instructions or a soothing mantra to talk about the good things and not get stuck in bad dreams. The haunting video reflects this, as Lily explains; “As with our songwriting, we like to take people on a journey that they can’t necessarily predict. Haunting? Perhaps it’s the direct gaze or eerie domestic familiarity.”
Photo by Russell Kleyn