If there’s a better named album released in 2017, I’m yet to see it. Big Skies, Mere Women’s third full-length album evokes its title, but is as spacious as it is claustrophobic. The exploration of women’s experiences over generations stimulates the senses from the echoing, layered guitar riff on opener Eternally to the meandering journey of closer, Wanderer.

Some songs build the tension to such a point that it’s almost uncomfortable, as in the minute-long Visitor flowing into Is This Real?, where space is created and Amy Wilson’s direct vocals cut through. Combined with the acerbic guitar from Flyn Mckinnirey, the driving force on drums of Kay Byrne and the welcomed addition of Trisch Roberts’ wandering bass, this album is a living, breathing being.

The title track is as representative of this album – as you get with the whole band combining into a frenzy as Wilson proclaims, “You’d better get a doctor / You’d better lock your doors, girl”. Each song explores a new topic, each as hauntingly real as the next. Speaking of which, Curse is a tentatively delicate track that only serves to launch into Drive, an urgent ode devoted to leaving complications behind in pursuit of a simpler life.

Born out of the now sadly departed Black Wire Records, this album stands as a “fuck you” to the establishment that tries to hem in the Sydney music scene. Their live recording technique means Wilson’s vocals are sometimes lost in the cacophony surrounding it. It’s a small gripe on an album that challenges the senses and promotes the fact that a group like Mere Women deserves a live audience.

3.5/5

Mere Women – Big Skies

Released: 16 June, 2017 via Poison City Records