The End of Days (self-released)
Fall 1989, the first time I saw guitarist Dave Gill: One night a groovy, now defunct, Hyde Park coffee house found room on the schedule for all the usual suspects. The rumor going around being, some radical noise guitarist is killing it, duo style, with an effects cat. Their operating moniker: !Glrnaap. So I glugged a slug from the jug, took a few tokes and made my way to the Fullerton el stop. When I got to the performance I wasn't late, but the show had already started. Some academic music school characters were considering how it would look on paper. Gill proceeded to set up his flea market light show, plug in a 25-watt practice amp, and level the room. The last audible remark I heard was a reference to frog sterilization. A few years later I would hear Gill perform more times than I can remember with the wildly popular and critically acclaimed Hog Lady.
And now this! The End of Days is an absolute masterpiece. Track 4 "December" is worth the price of admission alone. When the vocals kick in the result is nothing less than chilling. After a pause, the hook and riff will leave the most consummate of professional musician blushing with jealousy. Lead vocalist Sophia Anita possesses a huge voice. I don't know if the limited vocal range she tends to hover in is really that limited, or she just prefers to maintain the power there. This is definitely not daddy's little girl cooing lullabies. In any event, her ears produce juicy, hard-to-forget melodic lines. Track 2 is a whopper, clocking in at 20 minutes of brutal prog. Even after multiple listening, I'm still caught, not catching the razor sharp changes. The excellent minimal bass playing, Chase Carter, locks in and propels formidable drummer Brian Davy. This rhythm section provides an exquisite platform for Gill to launch into his signature extraterrestrial solos.
Word on the street is The End of Days marks the end of Mermaid Bones. I don't know what could possibly compel this band of once-in-a-lifetime collaborators to proclaim such a thing. What could possibly prevent them from performing from time to time, at least locally in their West Coast Bay Area region, I don't know... Whatever it is, I hope these kids can find a way to continue to make music of this caliber. Anyone with the slightest affinity for rock music deserves to give this a listen—Dr. Heironeous B. Naughty Has brain will travel.