Mirth, the three-piece indie rock band from Portland, ME, has made an impressive debut with the release of their self-titled EP. The five-song record is impressive for the trio’s inaugural studio piece, combining the dreamy, atmospheric instrumentals of Brendan Butler (bass) and John Troegner (drums) with John Zebley’s newly minted vocals. The trio’s sound encourages movement as well as introspection, and the five-track EP quickly left me pondering many questions including, “When and where can I see these guys play?” Fortunately, Mirth will be rocking Portland House of Music on Friday, October 28th to kick off Halloween weekend.
The name Mirth, in guitarist/vocalist John Zebley’s words, “encompasses the general feeling I get from our music. Some of it sounds happy, some of it sounds like a longing to feel Mirth.”
“Either way, it’s a nice simple name which is also a change that I think is coincidental with the stylistic changes I’ve made,” mused the frontman.
When the two met during summer 2015, Troegner quickly picked up the songs that Zebley had written over the past several years. Their prayers for a skilled and compatible bassist were answered during November 2015 with the addition of Butler. Each bandmate had their own projects in which they’d played prior to forming Mirth. Their skill, experience and quickly formed chemistry all shine through in the EP.
Listeners may catch pieces of some influencers including The Arctic Monkeys, Local Natives and The Mars Volta. I found Volta’s sound particularly evident in “Comfortable Mirages,” the record’s most upbeat song which contradicts the track’s sobering lyrics. The EP’s content covered both abstract and concrete topics, as illustrated in my favorite song, “Bird’s Feet,” a track that starts off with a more relaxed vibe but ends with a crashing melodic outro. The song tells a firsthand account of theft and “a betrayal of trust,” explained Zebley, “a situation that I saw happen over a long period that I couldn’t really do anything about but unfolded the only way it could have.”
I’m thrilled to have gotten into Mirth at the ground floor; if the cohesiveness the trio has already formed is any indication, I anticipate more great music from Mirth down the road. Kick off your Halloween weekend with Mirth’s performance at Portland House of Music this Friday. As if you needed any more convincing, Portland’s Lone Pine Brewing will use the event as an oppurtunity to hold a limited release party for their High Five! IPA.