Glasgow-based duo der Mist have been readying themselves for the release of their self-titled album all year. On the 26th of February, listeners were gifted with the unique amalgamation of genres that make up the album, featuring elements of pop, rock, indie, electronic and new wave elements.
der Mist is Craig McKissick and Ali Whitty, both based in Glasgow, Scotland, and equipped with impressive multi-instrumental skills that give the band an enlarged sound as though there were 3 or 4 members, rather than 2. Previously in Crash My Model Car (signed to V2 Records) and Augusta Fireball, Ali found Craig through a local charity he set up which looked to help young musicians – this certainly proved to be the case as the pair decided to avoid the trappings of a traditional four-piece and use the combination of their musical and technical skills. Ironically, COVID-lockdowns proved to catalyse their work effort, making them even more committed to avoiding gimmicks and fake methodology to show the real people behind the music and the process of making it by using social media and vlogs on their Youtube channel to speak directly to fans.
The lead track, ‘It’s Alright’, which was released on the 15th January, was an inebriating concoction of indie rock found through experimentation with pop formulas, sensitively positive lyrics and some awesome guitar riffs. But the upbeat tempo and mix of synths add texture to the track and prove that there is plenty of room for guitars and electronic production to coexist.
The brilliant accompanying video, released on 22nd January, captures the energy, passion and positivity of the band, echoing some of the giants of 80s synth-pop like Duran Duran whilst containing rock elements influenced by the artists’ favourite rock bands, such as Pixies. This is most definitely a track to be blasting throughout the day; the lyrics are pertinent and reflective of the time we live in, imploring a positive mental attitude and assuring one that things will be alright. Whether you’re on your daily walk, cleaning your room or some kind of seemingly menial task – this is a track to inject some required positivity into your day.
Craig explains the genesis of the track:
“It’s Alright was the first track Ali worked on with me when I was 16 that I can distinctly remember having this feeling that we were on to something – that’s why it’s the debut track. Like a lot of tracks on the album, it went through so many versions. I remember at one point it had so much going on, I was getting carried away layering up sounds trying to turn it into a drum ‘n’ bass dance track. After hearing it, Ali swiftly decided we had to go back to basics and get the core elements of the demo and turn them into something better.
Some elements from my outrageous version are still in there, but my favourite part of the process was recording the guitar solo. We had so much fun trying to channel our inner 80’s child (even though I wasn’t born then), trying to get something unique and fresh but also something that evokes that nostalgic feeling. Lyrically the track harkens back to the uncertainty I and I’m sure a lot of people had growing up and just having the confidence to tell yourself everything is going to be ok. And yes there is a reference to Kool and the Gang’s ‘Get Down On It’ in there, why not!“
The 14-track masterpiece is teeming with catchy, charming lyrics and upbeat instrumentals that make the album full of fun and positivity; even the structure of the album is audibly appealing as tracks effortlessly lead into one another. However, it is the interlude that caught my attention, because ‘From the Inside Out’ slows things down a little bit as the lyrics are sadder, and instead of electric guitar we hear bells and Spanish guitar notes mixing together in a way that is contemplative and hopelessly romantic.
“Tearing me apart,
From the inside out.”der Mist – From The Inside Out.
And this is not the only exploration of musical formulae, ‘Life is Flashing’ combines elements of spoken word and stylistically paced hip-hop motifs.
The final track on the album is ‘Connected’, and the opening reminded me of I Can See Through You by The Horrors. However, it drifts into a different direction that make it the perfect conclusion for the album.
“We are taking it to the top,
We aren’t going to take it no more.”der Mist – Connected.
Overall, the album is an intoxicating blend of albums, coming together in a way that is almost anarchist in its lawless disregard for sticking to one genre and contains lyrics that are rebellious yet optimistic. In a year of confinement and authority, the duo fights back against the normative in a way that incites hope and amplifies the need for self-expression.
der Mist lifts the lid on every aspect of their lives as real musicians (vegan, teetotal musicians, no less!), leaving their forthcoming album to speak for itself.
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