HOLD ME DOWN TO THE EARTH. Magdalena Bay’s “Mercurial World” album cover art. photo/Ram Han

Magdalena Bay delivers an influx of groovy nostalgia engulfed in a mixture of sultry and distorted synths with their debut album, “Mercurial World.”

The project kicks off strongly with its first track, “The End,” creating a contrasting, almost somber atmosphere with intensifying poolside pop charm as Mica Tenenbaum drops a nihilistic bombshell: so, if the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning, then what’s the end anyway?

The previous track divinely transitions into the title track of the album, a feature of our lead girl fantasizing about the silky wonders of a relationship that, in reality, nears the abyss of a breakup. The song states the duo’s brand of desireful sweetness and lurching distortion, which is also heard throughout the entirety of the project.

The third track, “Dawning of the Season,” sounds like the soundtrack to a retro, dystopian-future apocalyptic movie centered around monster-hunting teenagers — the music and lyrics effectively carries and executes the song’s ambience of video game nostalgia.

Serving as one of the project’s singles, “Secrets (Your Fire)” blends the animating neon luminosity of the city with the turbulent, puzzling faces of PC music. The elusive lyrics construct a technological dream-space where the contrast between the Y2K Bug archetypes and uncertainty is minimal.

The fifth track, “You Lose!,” is an exquisite distillation of Magdalena Bay’s secret potion formula: adventure, madness and nostalgia all in one. The cacophony of Tenenbaum’s scratchy wails, arcade-like buzzing noises, and hammering drums personify the anxiety of the trials and errors of making it into the music industry. The sentiment the song captures is immaculate, proving to be one of the bests in the album.

“Something for 2” and “Chaeri” could be considered to be sister tracks; vulnerability and self-interrogation doesn’t equate to weakness. Both tracks follow Tenenbaum’s longing doubts on whether she could have done more to repair the damage done in her past — “Something for 2” takes a more traditional approach, while the production on “Chaeri” explodes on a purely visceral level.

The eighth track, “Halfway,” begins with another contemplating kick about reality: no matter where you start or where you end, you are in between the where and the when; you are in the middle of a loop. As the song builds up to its wraithlike starry climax, the listener is transitioned to the next track, entitled “Hysterical Us,” a return to the luscious, psychedelic groove as Tenenbaum captivates the listeners with her existential thinking.

The duo’s muted chamber pop moment, “Prophecy,” is one that strays away from Mercurial World’s simulated synthetic ambience. Tenenbaum sounds angelic, conjuring a cherubic dream-space with her lover; when you’re lying next to me, I don’t need no make-believe.

Magdalena Bay’s signature dose of thumping synthwave and retro, apocalyptic doom returns in its full form on the tenth track of the album, “Follow The Leader”; now do you see you took the bait — now, do you see you took the bait? The cathartic feeling of concertedly mercurial and experimental cacophony begins reaching its peak as the album nears closing, like in “Domino,” in which the grinding guitars leave the listener on the edge for more.

The penultimate track, “Dreamcatching,” sounds like an expanded upon the limits of hallucinatory synthpop version of lead single “Chaeri.” The lyrics delivered by Tenenbaum picture a life beyond the shackles of daily life; a fantasy, almost as if the listener was actually dream catching.

“The Beginning” concludes the technicolor realm of Mercurial World debut with Tenenbaum sprinkling the swirling, cosmic components of Magdalena Bay’s elusive signature. The song dissolves back into the first track, “The Ending,” tying the listener to an infinite loop, which begs the question once again: so, if the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning, then what’s the end anyway?

Magdalena Bay’s Mercurial World successfully conjoins internet-surfing, distorted realities, and the agonies of existential thinking all in one, culminating with an astounding production filled with groovy nostalgia and cathartically seductive doom that could potentially make its listeners transcend to another universe.

The Hilights:

Album: Mercurial World

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Price: $12.98 on Amazon

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