I can not tell you how incredibly excited I am to finally talk about this album. Tantric has been my favourite band since I was a little kid. They were the first band that I ever really connected with on an emotional level. So, after four years of waiting, they have finally put out their new album, Mercury Retrograde. As soon as I saw that this album was coming out I knew that I had to have it and yes, I have pre-ordered it. So imagine the glee in my soul when I was provided with a pre-release review copy of the album. (Big thanks to the band, label and their management for that!) Now they're back with a new album, they have a new line-up with frontman, Hugo Ferreira as the sole original member. The new musicians brought in for this record are Troy Patrick Farrell on drums, Jaron Gulino on bass and Sebastian Labar on guitar. I think they gel rather well together as a unit. This album has more of a straightforward rock feel to it. It sounds like the lyrical ideas from the second album After We Go mixed in with the heavier production style of their fourth record Mind Control.
The album is really well put together, with songs like "Angry" and "Get Em All" showing their heavier sound. These songs have quite biting hooks and hefty riffs and Hugo's vocals are sharper and more direct. It really packs that extra punch. Alongside that, you have the more melodic alt. rock sound, that you would expect from them. Featuring those big sing-a-long choruses and punchy riffs like on "Tether" and the lead single "Letting Go". Then you have the other end of the spectrum with their softer rock ballads such as "My Forever" and "Before You Could Crawl". Which utilise the sweeping melodies and adds layers of harmony that allows the listener to get caught up in the atmosphere of the songs. This album is balanced well and all of the instruments can be heard clearly in the mix. It's a well-paced album with a rich and full sound. This feels like a newer version of the songs I grew up with. I also like the more guitar-riff driven direction containing those grungy elements. There's a lot of personality in the music alone.
From a lyrical standpoint, I've always felt that their music has grown up with me and every release has been a good snapshot of my thoughts and emotions. I'm not kidding either. I've always felt a great connection to Hugo's writing. Here though, it's not that exact or as poetic as what I have felt in the past. Yet, there are certain songs that resonate with me. "Lie Awake" is a fantastic tune about not being able to clear the thoughts in your head and letting the pressures of life get to you. The hurt of not being able to walk away or the same feeling actually holding you back such as in "Letting Go". There is a lot of strong emotions on the record and I think the way the band convey these words and put them to music is done with passion and comes across.
It's a really good feeling to have new Tantric music. Mercury Retrograde is by no means my favourite Tantric album, but it fits right in there with the rest of their material. I like the big choruses, I like the riffs, I think the new line-up works really well in bringing that grungy alt-rock sound with a southern twist to life. It's something new from my favourite band and I think it's a solid record for new and old fans alike. Definitely, an album that I'll be recommending.