Full of love, heartbreak, pain and joy, Mere Women’s fourth album, Romantic Notions, is out today.
Sydney post-punk outfit Mere Women have captivated listeners across three expansive albums, with their emotive brand of “abrasive post-punk pop”. The four-piece received critical acclaim for their third studio album, Big Skies, in 2017 and now their highly anticipated fourth album, Romantic Notions, is here.
Ahead of the release, the band dropped two singles from the album, the titular ‘Romantic Notions’ followed by ‘Someone Loves You’. Largely influenced by the lived experiences of women, lead songwriter and vocalist Amy Wilson took us through some of the deeply personal anecdotes behind the tracks on the album.
“The album is largely inspired by family stories of love, heartbreak, pain and joy. It’s an ode to all of the complex and amazing women who have brought me up and have helped me to become strong and resilient,” she says.
A while back my grandmother gave me a stack of her mother’s diaries. She wrote in her diary every day and the entries cover all of the huge events that happened in her life, intermingled with sketches and poetry. The diaries follow complicated relationships with her parents and siblings, her crushes and dreams, falling in love, being a mother and eventually losing control of her life.
Towards the end of the diaries her entries become less coherent, short and irregular. They lose all of the joy they had when she was younger and it’s heartbreaking.
Lots of elements of the album were spurred by these diaries but in particular, ‘Charms’ is inspired by my great grandmother’s deep love for her partner.
Once a boy wrote me a letter in his own blood. At the time I thought it was super gross but I still kept it for ages, because a letter written in blood seemed valuable somehow. I was fairly unimpressed by the colour of it on the page. The messy writing looked brown – not the crimson I would have liked.
This childhood story came to mind when we were writing ‘Romantic Notions’ and I think it captures the song’s themes of obsessive love and control well. It’s the first time I recall that someone was trying to manipulate me in this way.
Throughout my whole life I have seen people I care about being subject to overbearing or inappropriate ‘acts of love’. I’m always sceptical that these acts have hidden motives, and believe they are an excellent way to cloak control and repression. It’s really hard to stand up to someone who claims to be devoted to you because they’re probably blind to their own true motives too.
Another track inspired by grandmothers – on the other side of my family this time.
My grandmother was a beautiful soul who adored nature and was an extremely talented potter. She suffered from severe mental illness and traces of this have carried down through my family.
‘Heights’ is about making the decision to try to treat mental illness, rather than putting up with it. For many of us there are ways to make life better and I feel privileged that my grandmother showed me that. It can be so hard to make these types of big changes and there are always consequences – without the lowest lows it’s hard to get to the highest highs anymore.
This one is inspired by the power dynamic between couples and the effect it can have on their children. A family member once explained to me that it can be hard to look in the mirror when you remind yourself of someone who you have had a complicated relationship with. Family resemblance can be a constant reminder that you are biologically linked to someone who has done things you’re not proud of, or has hurt the people you love most.
Romantic Notions is out today (Friday March 5) via Poison City Records. More info here.