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They Came From the Deep: The Mermen Resurface in Redondo

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Post by Jack Skelly/Special to LAist/ Photos by Blake Ferris and Chris Kim A for LAist

The Mermen are not your everyday psychedelic surf band. Returning to L.A. last Thursday for the first time in half a decade to play Brixton at Redondo Beach pier, the San Francisco trio offered gleaming, kaleidoscopic, hard-edged, instrumental pearls.

Several numbers stretched up to 10-minutes or more, but you'd never call The Mermen a jam band. The songs are far-too intricately structured for that. A new piece, "Last Forever," exhibited an almost classical elegance, while older favorites -- including "With No Definite Future and No Purpose Other Than to Prevail Somehow..." -- were deeply emotional in the warmth of this little club. And The Mermen's material forges hybrid genres: wagon- train/sea-shanty/stomp. Trapeze-act/lullabye-waltz.

It's all drenched in several coats of gurgling reverb and vibrato, and flowing with classic surf beats from drummer Martyn Jones and bassist Allen Whitman. But guitarist Jim Thomas coaxes an incredible range from his instrument: Everything from baroque-ish chord melodies to howling, apocalyptic feedback. It's no exageration to say he belongs in the guitar-god pantheon. The Mermen should wash up on our shoes more often.