Mezko: Polychronic

- Sydneysiders Kat Harley and Laura Bailey make their band Mezko quite mysterious. It’s not just because they’re attracted to the dark side of beats, semi-club music and rock, but because they like to mutate, quite unpredictably, in their approach to it.

It’s in the very blueprint of the band, as it turns out. To begin with Kat and Laura wanted to connect the guitar and bass they’d grown up playing, to their more recent interest in synths and other electronics. It gives them a pretty broad palette to choose from. On top of that they’ve taken on a specific mandate: be eclectic. A lot of bands claim to be unbound by the strictures of genre, just following their personal muses wherever they go. Very few actually manage to do that, but Mezko are quite the chameleons.

The duo’s first releases were quite subdued, in that way that only shoegaze can be: painfully shy but a wall of noise at the same time. Check out the Golden 7” which came out on Moontown back in 2015: quiet but echoing vocals over the welling thunder of guitar and electronics. The arpeggiated synth patterns of the 7”s b-side, Home Harbour, also make a sneaky sally into pleasantly tuneful krautrock. This was a signal of the restless stylistic journey the band were embarking on, toward their new EP, Polychronic.

A standalone single, Journey’s End, introduced synthwave elements to a pleasantly poppy, gazey number, falling somewhere in the shared space between School Of Seven Bells and Stereolab before stuff from the EP started to trickle out. Three of the songs from the modest five-tracker have found their way to the public’s ears across the couple of years the record has taken to materialise. Oh, it’s just a hunch, but I’m guessing that a much more substantial offering will arrive, quite quickly, now that Mezko are signed with Australian indie powerhouse Inertia.

Wait though, I’m not saying that what we have here isn’t much: it actually made me a bit woozy, trying to take it all in. Terms like krautrock and coldwave don’t really do justice to tracks like Trust or Everyone. I mean, those things are in there, but the wealth of guitar-driven energy doesn’t fit. Mezko might hang out with folks like Buzz KullDen and Total Control but this isn’t their brand of cold, aloof ennui. I actually get strong tingles for the ‘90s and the feral blend of electronic rock favoured by bands like Def FX or Regurgitator. I’m not sure how Mezko would feel about that comparison.

It’s not exactly like them either, though! More accurately it feels like the music is trying to be everything I’ve mentioned about Mezko so far, all at once. I’m not sure anyone can bridge the gap between stylishly bloodless post-punk and sweaty, grungy, synth-rock. Mezko are giving at a red hot go, however and the more I listen to it, the more I’m convinced it’s the kind of kool-aid I could actually enjoy. It’s a really interesting time for the band: a big signing off the back of this kind of mercurial talent, that’s the kind of creative pit-fight I couldn’t possibly predict the outcome of. I can definitely say I’ll be listening for the results.

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: Polychronic
Artist: Mezko
Record Label: (Inertia Music)