Australian singer/songwriter Meri Amber labels her sound as geek pop, how super is the Super EP though?
With a busy schedule performing at comic conventions around the south east of Australia ahead of her, Meri Amber is busy promoting and gearing up for the release of her new seven track record the Super EP, something she describes as “A marvel of pop culture snippets, sonic candy and life observations. The Super EP is seven tracks of Geek Pop goodness”. The EP comes with a full colour comic book insert, also written, illustrated, inked and coloured by Meri.
Far removed from the Nerdcore Hip-Hop I more commonly review for The Unheard Nerd, Meri Amber’s sound centres around her clean, folk/pop vocals and acoustic guitar. It’s very bubbly, catchy, pleasant to listen to but under what circumstances does it qualify as geeky?
Opening track My Superman carries enough catchy hooks to have you singing along for days making it the obvious choice as the debut single from the release. Essentially the tale of an over emotional girl struggling with basic functions in life and relying on that sweet guy to pull her through. I don’t expect to find Amber performing at any feminist rallies any time soon. The accompanying video is well put together but does little to add to the substance of the song.
Something of a comedy song, Boobs carries some clever wordplay that teases the listener into expecting the lyrics to head in one direction before taking a sharp left turn. Sadly, what should be an ironic look at the desirability of large breasts fails to carry a punchline that offsets the shallow message held within the lyrics. The song is engaging and fun but carries with it unhealthy connotations.
Kudos is a much more accomplished look at the insecurities many of us face in life and the support we receive from our friends. Again clever lyricism makes the song more than just background music. An observation of net-life, Friday Viral works through a list of viral videos from Charlie Bit my Finger to Charlie Sheen winning and, of course, there’s a not to the dreadful Friday by Rebecca Black in the title.
Taking on a more serious tone Sum Of Us exhibits a higher level of maturity in a song that would fit into the playlist of any commercial radio station’s playlist. Again focussed around the trials of life but carrying with it a desire to rise above and succeed. For me this is the stand out track of the EP. Nothing’s In Your Way carries a similar message to Sum Of Us in a far more up-beat style. There are 8-Bit sounds and vague reference to video games with the spirit of Bare Naked Ladies – One Week coming through at times, at least on each occasion I listened to the song that’s what immediately sprang to mind.
The Super EP concludes with a bonus acoustic version of a track titled We, which is in all likelihood a true representation of where Meri Amber’s strengths lie as an honest, well written, lyrically strong song.
Being a nerd or a geek is popular right now, a strange phenomenon that’s been discussed any number of times. Unlike some of the elitists who argue the ‘we’ve been nerds all our life, shunned for our interests and now it’s cool?!‘ argument, I personally think it’s great that so many people are now appreciating comics, superheroes and pop-culture. Often though, those embracing it with sudden enthusiasm fail to really grasp the true appeal of it.
Meri Amber has done a fantastic job of collecting together seven strong, catchy songs. Her voice is well suited to the style of music and she’s clearly a talented lyricist with an ear for a hook. Her marketing is well thought out, her website is fantastic and ticks a lot of boxes in terms of appealing to her target audience. It just doesn’t deliver the content I expected from the promotion push I’ve been exposed to. The comic book inlay, the Batman and Superman stickers in the video, the comic-con appearances. Where are the comic book or pop-culture references in the music?
Does Meri Amber’s Super EP qualify as geeky? In some respects yes. Her lyrics are peppered with the insecurities and awkwardness synonymous with being a geek. For the most part though, this is a bubbly folk/pop release veneered with pop-culture imagery. Enjoyable, but lacking in substance for those that live and breath nerd culture.
Check out Meri Amber’s website and pre-order the Super EP now. The Super EP is released on the 20th of September.