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HomeMusicThe Mysterines | Afraid Of Tomorrows | Album Review

The Mysterines | Afraid Of Tomorrows | Album Review


The Mysterines: Afraid Of TomorrowsMysterines Afraid of tomorrows cover

(Fiction Records)

CD | LP | DL | Stream

Out 21st June 2024

PRE-ORDER IT HERE

Two years on from their scorching, fuzzed-up and garage-grunge infused debut album, The Mysterines finally deliver their follow up album, Afraid Of Tomorrows. And it’s everything and so much more than you would expect as the band’s maelstrom of creative energy extends their sonic boundaries deeper into new, darker and unchartered corners of your mind, making it Louder Than War’s ALBUM OF THE WEEK!

There are moments in any great bands evolution when you stand back, take stock and realise that things can never and should never be the same again. In the case of The Mysterines, having already released their debut album, Reeling, to huge critical acclaim back in March 2022, it was for me the night they played at Band on the Wall in Manchester soon after the album release. As relayed by LTW at the time here, it was a night when it became clear that their thundering bass lines, mesmerising grunge-infused rhythms, and huge stadium-sized anthems were destined for much bigger stages than this. And now with the release of their new album, Afraid Of Tomorrows, this is surely the next stepping stone on this great journey.

Since that time, The Mysterines have continued to tour relentlessly in order to stake their rightful claim, including forays across North America and Europe. Having provided support for the Arctic Monkeys on their huge stadium-sized shows in 2023, more recently they have been the main support for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on the UK leg of their extensive tour, and now have a raft of Summer Festival appearances planned as they continue to edge ever higher up the various line-ups.

There is little doubt that their ever-consistent quartet of Lia Metcalfe (vocals and guitar), George Favager (bass), Callum Thompson (guitar) and Paul Crilly (drums) has helped the band to develop a highly tuned chemistry which makes the band as a whole so much more than the sum of their individual parts. So, with all of this this already in place, The Mysterines are going to be a serious force to be reckoned with by the time they hit their headline tour in the autumn which starts in the UK.

The Mysterines press image
Photo credit: Steve Gullick

Of course, the mark of any great band is that they never stand still and just deliver more of the same. And Afraid Of Tomorrows proves to be another huge leap forward to demonstrating just how far The Mysterines are prepared to go to develop their craft and expand their sonic boundaries as it ploughs a much deeper, darker and menacing furrow in the ever-churning rock’n’roll landscape. As Lia describes in her own words, “‘Afraid of Tomorrows’ is a mirror where you find you’re nothing more than a formless being, one made from celestial constellations — of traumas, of the old and new, mistakes, addiction, fear and happiness, loneliness, but ultimately a desire for life and the fight to keep living. It’s a collage of what’s been lost and of love unbounded.”

Decamping to Los Angeles to record with John Congleton, who has worked with everyone from St Vincent to The Killers, Clairo to The Murder Capital, it is quite evident that the city’s seedier underbelly offered the perfect backdrop for their month-long recording stint at the producer’s newly-built studio. From the very first listen to Afraid Of Tomorrows, it is an album that displays a renewed sense of confidence in their own abilities and an unnerving power and swagger which should help to take The Mysterines up to the next level.

The album opens in fine style with The Last Dance which has already become a strong fan favourite at live shows. And no surprise there with its sultry opening which explodes into a wave of intensity as Lia sings “if only you would take my hand” with a real sense of longing in her voice before the song finally closes out with a somewhat disturbing whispered vocal which lays the foundation for the darker narratives to follow.

Lead single from the album Stray follows on with its monstrous rhythm and powerful and distorted vocal burning a hole in your amps. It drives forward with an intense amount of swagger interspersed with its huge anthemic chorus lines which would illuminate even the largest of stadiums. Lia describes its narrative as follows “Stray focuses on the aimless and untamed nature of the polarities of behaviour that we experience when dealing with suffering. Whether it’s guilt, paranoia or unexplained feelings of grandiosity. Often when the hands of loneliness have a firm grip over one’s eyes it can turn dangers into open doors inviting you in. We find a certain point of no return and we’re often led astray.”

Another Another Another has a darker, more sinister, yet utterly compelling vibe with a deeper impassioned vocal which brings through a sense of desperation as Lia sings “the clock is only ticking if you’re listening.” Tired Animal is driven along by a huge burning bass line which plunders the menacing dark wave vibes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, with the chilling vocals almost eating into your soul. Meanwhile Jesse You’re A Superstar ventures into a more ethereal and otherworldly style as it prowls deep into the psyche.

Hawkmoon opens in more delicate fashion before expanding into a sonic explosion of epic proportions which leads us seamlessly into the powerhouse riffs of second single Sink Ya Teeth which really displays the brutal edge that the band can bring to their sound. This is a real dance floor stomper with serious attitude and a video to go with it featuring Lia in a vibrant party scene that quickly descends into chaos as intoxication takes hold. What starts as a joyous celebration turns into unhinged scenes of despair. As Lia herself describes, “Sink Ya Teeth is a testament to the brutality of real love. Written during a time where the boundaries of pain and passion were warped amidst the chaos of addiction and desire.” Welcome to the world of The Mysterines!

Junkyard Angel takes us back to a more mainstream rock vibe with a pulsing beat overlaying the largely acoustic guitar and shimmering vocal. Goodbye Sunshine ploughs a raw garage-grunge furrow as its metronomic rhythm and fuzzed-up guitar take us on a journey through a wall of psychedelia into a world of desperation and despair. And whilst the acoustic backdrop of Inside A Matchbox draws us back into more mellow soundscapes, do not be fooled as it masks a somewhat more dramatic and complex narrative throughout the song.

So Long is set in a much sparser and emotive arrangement, seemingly centred around forgiveness and regret. The haunting and often cryptic vocals convey a heartfelt message which is made to sound all the more sweeter by the beautiful melodies which run throughout the song. Title track Afraid Of Tomorrows closes the album in a more stripped down folk style fashion, drawing out the poetic quality to their songwriting.

Afraid Of Tomorrows is a more personal and intimate album which extends to so many more dimensions compared with the foreboding and bombastic charm of their debut. However, it is still another beast of an album that harnesses the grunge and psychedelic influences which always sit at The Mysterines’ core, thereby giving it an unparallelled power and menace which could unsettle anyone who might try and stand in its way. With their own admission, the band felt a strong sense of re-invigoration arising from songwriting sessions while secluded away in the countryside and this album really demonstrates this in a big way.

There is no doubt that the songs on Afraid Of Tomorrows are going to raise a few roofs in the months ahead and when combined with their debut album, The Mysterines now have a hugely impressive set list to draw on for their live shows. And you can catch them on the following dates which include a whole raft of summer festivals and then their autumn headline tour starting in the UK.

June
21 – Southside Festival, Germany
23 – Hurricane Festival, Germany

July
07 – Crystal Palace Park, London (supporting Bloc Party)
11 – 2000 Trees Festival, Cheltenham
20 – Tsunami Festival, Spain
25 – Truck Festival, Steventon
26 – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

August
02 – Y Not Festival
03 – Rocken Am Brocken, Germany

September
28 – Evolution Festival – St. Louis, MO

October
05 – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester

Headline tour
18 – Whelan’s, Dublin
19 – Ulster Sports Club, Belfast
20 – Saint Luke’s, Glasgow
22 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
23 – Thekla, Bristol
24 – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
26 – Olympia, Liverpool
28 – Antwerp, Belgium
30 – Molotow Skybar, Hamburg
31 – Badehaus, Berlin
November
02 – Niebo, Warshaw
03 – Futurum, Prague
04 – Kranhalle, Munich
06 – Biko, Milan
07 – Exil, Zurich
08 – La Boule Noire, Paris

Tickets for tour dates can be purchased here.

You can pre-order the album here.

You can find The Mysterines on Facebook, X (Twitter)Instagram and their website.

~

All words by Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writing at his author profile here.

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