August 12, 2006


Brisbane-based Mesmere, a staple of the Australian progressive art-rock scene, is on the verge of exploding onto a worldwide stage.

That soon-to-be global leap was as least part of the reasoning that led the band, formerly known as Mosaic, to change its name. “It was a very hard decision to make; there’s always so much history with a band name,” said Maryanne Stewart, Mesmere vocalist. “With the evolving musical direction of the new album, I think Mesmere evokes the emotion of our sound perfectly.”

That compelling sound is propelling their new album, “An Overlong Welcome,” onto the international scene. The album features, “Keepsakes,” a track produced, recorded and mixed by Savage Garden’s Daniel Jones at his Meridien Musik studio.

The band, whose name derives from the word “mesmerize,” does just that by weaving a tapestry that is stunning in its complexity and beauty—but eminently listenable. Their music blends genres artfully, providing a listener with the opportunity to groove on the melodic and harmonic offerings, or immerse oneself in layer after layer of sound.

Lewis Benbow (guitars) and Jamie Burrows (bass) were bandmates from childhood. After school, the pair moved to Brisbane where Lewis met Jeremy Wellard (guitars) and Maryanne Stewart (vocals) while studying jazz improvisation;. Matt Tucker (drums) joined recently, completing the current lineup.

But it’s not the coming together that defines Mesmere as much as the sheer diversity of experience they bring to the stage and recording studio. From performing in metal, funk, jazz and rock bands to writing and performing theatre, this is a group of artists that’s not inclined to enforce a rigid style of performance.

Instead, their music has evolved organically as each member continues to develop his or her art. This refusal to limit ideas has led to some very interesting (and, says the band, “strange”) music, and based on their rapidly growing fan base, it’s a concept that is working very well.

Their willingness to experiment derives, perhaps, from the broad spectrum of influences that informs their work: Pink Floyd, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Tool, Nick Cave, Nina Simone, and Janis Joplin, among others.

Critically-acclaimed for the epic nature of their sound, Mesmere is at home in large venues where they can fill space with big sound and visual projection, but they are able to create intimate moments during which the audience hangs off of Stewart’s every word.

Mesmere’s music strikes a fine balance: between beauty and destruction, peace and unease. Listeners are swept into a raging torrent of sound that builds and builds to crashing crescendos, all the while being seduced by intriguing stories and rich emotion.

Maryanne Stewart - Vocals
Lewis Benbow - Guitars
Jamie Burrows - Bass
Matt Tucker - Drums

Jeremy Wellard - Guitars

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