Merci Raines – ‘Merci Raines’ (album stream) (premiere)

New Orleans songwriter releases debut EP steeped in mystique and nocturnal vibes.

A nocturnal vibe is palpable throughout Merci Raines’ debut EP. Covering a dark substance with a shimmering veneer, the beguiling five-song record has a full-moon-at-midnight quality. It helps that its dark pop is naturally informed by the mystique of Raines’s hometown of New Orleans.

“Moon City”, the suitably named opening tune, seduces the listener with Raines’s cooing and a whirlwind melody. From there, “I Know Better” serves as a vehicle for the songwriter’s arresting vocals, heavy on layered synths and dance beats. Come the chorus, its percussion takes a prodigious turn, with Raines’s looped vocals adding to the ambiance.

The ominous “Smoke” is more ramshackle, a dusky tableau that dabbles with an industrial clamor. By contrast, “Diana” unfurls amid the crinkle and hiss of an antique vinyl record. Its austerity is augmented by a breakdown of deranged shrieking and acoustic plucking, imparting a ghostly effect.

Raines’s eponymous EP is out in digital markets Friday, March 31. Its tracklisting is as follows:

1. Moon City

2. Smoke

3. Diana

4. Flood

5. I Know Better


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