Magdalena Bay - Mercurial World
Oct 8, 2021
Mercurial World reacts like a real fairy tale, it is a colorful, mysterious, wonderful and incredibly seductive adventure. There's no doubt that this debut album can compete for a top spot this year.

I saw the future when I listened to Mercurial World and I am completely reassured. It's been a few years now that the world of pop music is changing in order to make the genre evolve towards new paths and finally it's almost mandatory to think that it will be done by Electronic. I want to prove it by the recent icons who build little by little the nomenclature of the future, like Charli XCX, Sophie (R.I.P.), Grimes, Arca, AG Cook or Billie Eilish, who are real sound architects whose influences are based on the Pop period and on the underground electronic scene of the 2000s. Now, it is important to add to this list a duo that since a few years prove that they are full of talent, I am of course referring to Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin of Magdalena Bay. The duo from Miami knows perfectly how to combine the technological trends and social networks of the moment to highlight content that prepares the future. In fact, the duo follows the example of their peers, that is to say using some elements and retro influences to be able to transform their music into something very modern. For the moment and like their new album Mercurial World, the duo acts only as a link, but for which the future could be impacted. Let's come back to the present to analyze an unavoidable duo of the Synthpop and Electropop scene, which does not cease to prove a hallucinating progression, thanks to a series of singles, EPs and a previous mixtape as promising as delicious. Like their emergence, Mercurial World has no time to spend for a first test album, it is already an essential element of this year 2021 and what will come afterwards.

First of all I will say that Mercurial World is an album that describes globally the social and societal phenomena that we live since a few years. The duet draws up landscapes as surrealist as alive in which the human can express himself, to open out, to take refuge, to disguise himself to escape the real society in which we live. That is to say that the human is today extremely present on social networks, on video games, on the internet, in a virtual reality, and he will create a mask, sometimes another identity that will allow him to switch to a world where he would sometimes be more comfortable. I find that the Magdalena Bay delirium represents well the synthesis of this phenomenon, since it creates a present with elements of the past, a surrealist aesthetic, but while emphasizing on some things deeply human. To do this, the band uses mystery, psychedelic imagery and even their music is deeply rooted in a version that seems manufactured in the sense that everything seems unreal. It is often described that Magdalena Bay's sound sounds handcrafted and I think this is what explains how some of the surrealistic can exude deeply human emotions. Mercurial World feels like an acid dream, where the listener is immersed in a hypnotic atmosphere, in order to confront multiple and diverse emotions, which finally the name Mercurial World carries its name perfectly.

What better than an eclectic content to perfectly articulate a lunatic experience, and the duo also shows all its genius to deliver a high level musical color palette. Get ready be-cause Mercurial World is an absolutely sensational musical adventure. Mercurial World first of all marks a considerable difference in the dimension that each song takes. The duo has reworked its format in order to give it more depth, already from the songs a little longer. It leaves a bit the crafted sound for a more sophisticated approach which has their content to have richer textures and layers. The eponymous song acts as a kind of generic presentation of what this trip will offer us globally. We immediately feel the universe of the duo taking shape with each note of synthesizer, with each well polished melody.

It is often said that you can tell a good groove by the hypnotic power of a song and this is the case on this first album. Dawning Of The Season is a kind of conventional Nu-Disco/House that is far from revolutionizing the music but acts as well as a dose of mor-phine on a patient in search of calm. It allows songs like Dawning Of The Season that are not highlights, nor as adventurous as some of them to shine only with the help of its hyp-notic power. This is an ultra important element as it allows this album to never lose in-tensity and interest. And then there are the highlights. Secrets is an absolutely conta-gious G-Funk/Nu-Disco blast that works so well that you come out revitalized from this experience. There is finally not much more to say, because everything is perfect. We are punctuated by a groovy instrumentation full of flavors that offer a really interesting final, the opulent and paralyzing vocals come to accompany the whole. In another register, You Lose is a treasure which is built by a stunning Noise Pop/Indietronica essence. The writing is just as excellent, we notice a deeply attached narrator who acts so passionately and it transpires through the instrumentation.

So far Mercurial World is only getting stronger, but that's also because it's constantly focused on a perpetual questioning. The album sails from style to style, always thinking of placing the effort on something that the duo seems to master, so the band limits the exits. This versatility ends up making you dizzy. Something For 2 takes us into dangerous territory, while Chaeri is a House delight that transcends the listener. Its minimalist, al-most mechanical structure and construction manages to clash with warm notes in total weightlessness. It is the alchemy of many different elements that fit together ideally, as if each piece was custom built to match another. This is personally one of the songs that stands out to me the most on the album, because it really gives the impression of being a spectator who undergoes the events. Take the image of an absolutely shocked, open-mouthed individual who would remain glued like that throughout the Chaeri experience, and well that was me. I also love it when Magdalena Bay gets carried away with a dose of kitsch like on Halfway, a sort of song done in reverse that is absolutely seductive.

Of course when someone takes me by the feelings with a Sophisti-Pop ballad, I can't help but be conquered. Hysterical Us is a time bubble that sends you back decades on the dance floors filled with different colored cubes. The thematic based on the existential is in total link with the "concept" of Mercurial World, that is to say this ambition of an individual to prove its existence or to escape from existential anguishes. One can find that the level of writing of Magdalena Bay is not at the level of the great songwriters of all times, but an unconscious concept resides in this album as an absolute reflection of the society and it is that which touches me. When you are a spectator or an actor of a world that moves at full speed, you observe a deep societal malaise and I think it is important that popular artists highlight this phenomenon through a pop record that is clearly accessible to a large part of the public. The duo never keep their audacity and ambition to themselves, they seem to be freewheeling and their genius is sometimes disconcerting. Prophecy approaches Baroque Pop in a kind of futuristic Disney ballad with a divine orchestration. The end of the album is more adventurous and let yourself be carried away by the beauty of Synthpop.

Sincerely although their evolutions and the singles released beforehand bring a good omen to what Mercurial World was going to give potentially, I remain no less surprised by the uncommon quality of this album. It is a true recital which acts like an infallible playlist. Built voluntarily as an album assembled in reverse, that is to say that it begins with the end and conversely, Magdalena Boy sets up a kind of loop which repeats itself. This is a secondary detail, but it also supports the fact that this album can be listened to on shuffle and be as enjoyable as the original tracklisting. Magdalena Boy has not revolutionized the music here, but the duo has managed to create an album of an exceptional level by providing inspired work with heart and modern ideas.
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