[Single Review] Mermaid Avenue ‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’

Waayyyyyyy back in March 2021 we were looking at the first single release ‘Turn The Page’ from “Sugartown” Mermaid Avenue’s 2nd full album. “Sugartown” was due to be released in September of 2021.

Our world has changed since then. We’ve needed to look deep into how we are doing things and adjust what we are doing to give it more importance, to truly appreciate each element on its own merit. This concept wasn’t lost on Mermaid Avenue in regard to each of the singles contained on “Sugartown”.

Bassist Mark Egan explains –

We’ve decided not to release the album until each of the songs has had a chance out in the big bad world, as we try not to record ‘album tracks’. This means we probably won’t release the album till early 2022 now – but will probably follow up with the next album later that year.

Today you and I will take a journey exploring the 5th single release from Mermaid Avenue’s “Sugartown” with ‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’ (17th October 2021).

‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’ is in keeping within the current thematic interests of lyricist and front man Peter Clarke – that of examining human relationships from all angles. The lyrics to ‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’ resonate the ‘Pain’ of a father talking to his son and sharing his life experiences and imploring him not to make the same mistakes….

Give me more time
To show you what’s right
You got a long way to go
Down this road

I made mistakes
pretended I could change
Oh don’t be like me
Son you will see

When I look at you
I see myself through and through
My damage brings all hell to pay
Fill your glass up
It’s always more than empty
Life is calling you
Don’t settle for the pain

(Excerpt of Lyrics – ‘Don’t Settle For The Pain’ by Mermaid Avenue)

In contrast to the actual lyrical content, if you were expecting a somewhat somber affair from ‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’ you’ll be disappointed….It’s a fully loaded Rock track!!

The intro takes a soft approach with the driving rhythms of guitars before Clarke’s vocals come on board. A short time later there’s an explosion of percussions and together it all culminates in you being taken to heights of angst in the storyline. Most notably it’s a combination where the tempo and mood are either led or impregnated into your persona but you’re not sure which one is doing the business.

Clarke’s smooth handling of some very sustained notes overarching the instrumentals at the intro sucker you right into the pleading of the father whilst also encouraging you to give it your best shot at holding the same and all the while the message is being hammered home while you’re rocking out right where you’re sitting with Judd’s pulsations.

To be enjoyed are the colours in Clarke’s vocal fluctuations, strength when needed dropping back to an almost innocence from time to time much like a reflective story where the message must be delivered yet in retrospect you remember your past choices with regret and implication.

Supporting and steadfast are the guitarists Wong and Kearey in unison with bassist Mark Egan all strumming or thumbing a pre-set pattern presenting a backdrop of familiarity to the listener.

As with all Mermaid Avenue tracks, you’ll find Chadwick on the keys skillfully providing all the little flutters and flourishes that add texture and finesse to the harmonies and melodies. A little hard to single out in this rocker at times but evident when there is a small breath in the juiced up instrumentals.

At 3:05 ‘Don’t Settle for the Pain’ tones down and strips back a little vocally and instrumentally to a not dissimilar space akin to the soft intro. Clarke turns it down as does Judd who remains on accent points and we are again in the sadness of a father who regrets some of his decisions in life.

At 3:50 it all cranks up again before what is for all intents and purposes an abrupt end and silence – the message delivery being complete.

Listen to Don’t Settle for the pain on Spotify here

Although I’ve never heard a Mermaid Avenue song that I haven’t been able to take something away from or even one I dislike, style wise this is where my affection for them lies. Of the five thus far released singles from the forthcoming album ‘Sugartown’ and 2021 this one has taken the top place only just pipping out ‘Turn The Page’ now in second place.

Rock is where I like my Mermaid Avenue …. I’m sure you’ll agree!

The “Sugartown” album is really shaping up…check out all the singles here….

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