Album review: Mekong Merchants | Katana

Oceanic psych-wanderers Mekong Merchants, a finalist in the best album category at the recent Gold Coast Music Awards for their debut effort, ‘Ocean Tones’, have backed it up impressively with the release of new EP, ‘Katana’.

Opening track, ‘Katana’, sets the bar high early, it’s moody, droning vibe akin to The Black Angels channeling The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus In Furs’.

Next comes ‘Reincarnation’, a brooding rocker with chugging, Eastern undertones. Bassist Kenji Tamura rolls out an expanding wave of head bobbing sound, while a breezy, mid song guitar interlude introduces a unique psych-surf vibe, perfectly complemented by an insistent chorus of “I have lived 1000 years, I have loved 1000 lives, I have surfed 1000 waves.”

Track three, the 7-minute plus ‘Space’, rides forever onwards into barrels and sunsets, guitarist and vocalist Stu Tume coaxing mesmerising frequencies from his six-string, blissfully melding with the track’s insistent, Kraut rock bounce.

The EP’s final track, ‘Haven’, is the sound of the sun reflecting off the waves on a late afternoon, it’s bright and breezy, surf-inflected vibes, the perfect comedown to close out this highly impressive four -song collection.

Let’s cross our fingers that the Mekong Merchants continue to release music of this calibre.

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