Reeling You In: Liverpool’s The Mysterines Erupt with Raw Passion on Feverish & Unapologetic Debut Album

The Mysterines © Steve Gullick
The Mysterines © Steve Gullick
Liverpool’s The Mysterines capture life’s chaos and inner turmoil on their triumphant debut album ‘Reeling,’ an impassioned outpouring of feverish alt-rock energy and seismic emotion that roars with raw intensity, bold flavors, and soul-stirring candor.
“Life’s a Bitch (But I Like it So Much)” – The Mysterines




Yet another Liverpool four-piece is making waves on both sides of the Atlantic –

and this new one’s even more hard-hitting today, as the last one was sixty years ago.

A true band on the run, The Mysterines are uncompromising and unapologetic: Their brand of alternative rock is heavy and heated, catchy and cathartic – erupting from a dark, dynamic, and emotionally turbulent core. There’s drama in every chord, electricity in every riff, and pure passion in every vocal line, all of which comes together in a breathtaking ecstasy of alluring and immersive sonic churn. The Mysterines’ long-awaited, highly anticipated debut album is, without a doubt, an alt-rock triumph: An intimate, impassioned outpouring of feverish energy and seismic emotion, Reeling roars with raw intensity as The Mysterines capture life’s chaos, upheaval, and inner turmoil with bold flavors, soul-stirring candor, and instantly memorable music.

Reeling - The Mysterines
Reeling – The Mysterines
Life is a bitch
But I like it so much.
Pride is the sign,
For when the bad becomes good.
Good, good, bad, bad –
It’s always the same.
I’m sick of aiding the pain,
But never feeding the brain.
It’s always the same,
Don’t hold it all against my name.
I tried hard to forget,
But it’s always the same.

Released March 11, 2022 via Fiction Records / Universal Music Group, Reeling is a radiant record of “grief, self-destruction, and heartache” channeled through the blackest of humor, per its candid creators. Working with acclaimed producer Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice, The Big Moon, PJ Harvey), The Mysterines inject the weight of their world into a record that’s as cathartic and cleansing as it is searing and soaring: Just because these songs ache, doesn’t mean they don’t rock, too.

The Mysterines © Steve Gullick
The Mysterines © Steve Gullick



Formed in 2015, The Mysterines have introduced themselves over the past few years as alternative’s next generation: The four-piece of Lia Metcalfe, George Favager, Callum Thompson, and Paul Crilly independently released their debut EP Take Control in 2019, followed by the Love’s Not Enough EP in 2020.

Reeling arrived earlier this spring, nearly a year to the day after the band signed to UMG affiliate Fiction Records. A scorching thirteen-track reckoning with life’s often cruel and unpredictable forces, The Mysterines’ first full-length blends bluesy hard rock riffs with charged beats, catchy melodies, and a simultaneous sense of openness and honesty, relentlessness and perseverance. Their music is at once hot and cold, burning and freezing, undeniable and inescapable. 

Just as I thought I’d solved,
What’s wrong with my soul.
They come along to show,
Just what I should’ve known.
On the run…
The fields have overgrown,
I walk through them alone.
To my surprise, I couldn’t solve,
Just what I should have known…
– “On the Run,” The Mysterines




The Mysterines © Al Browne
The Mysterines © Al Browne

I suppose the story of the record is weaved very carefully throughout the entirety of it,” The Mysterines’ vocalist and guitarist Lia Metcalfe tells Atwood Magazine. “I think it’s a record that takes more than 5 listens to truly see its reflections. We wanted to capture rawness and energy as well as we could, so we decided to record the album live. Everything we were referencing musically had used the same process.”

Reeling captures a very particular time for the band,” she adds. “We’ve grown a lot musically, and as people. It was an intense recording process that pushed us all to the edge and I think you can hear that when you listen to it. I like how there isn’t one known definition of [the title] ‘Reeling’ – it can mean many different things… and emotionally, it’s kind of what we all experienced when recording it. A mix of emotions leaving us Reeling.”

Needless to say, these songs ache in all the right ways. Highlights range from the album’s rip-roaring opener “Life’s a Bitch (But I Like it So Much)” and the hypnotic, slide guitar fueled “On the Run,” to the fiery hard rocker “The Bad Thing,” the darkly dramatic “Means to Bleed,” and the gut-wrenching headbanger “All These Things” – which the band deemed so good, that it received its own EP this past October (but more on that later).

I wanna feel like I did back then,
I didn’t see through weary eyes.
But this world of mine is all that I have-
and though it’s lonely, it is mine…
But it’s getting harder to feel the same this time.
With all these things that I’ve done-
Run on and on, on and on,
All these things that I’ve done…
I saw the darkness and I knew it well,
I’ve studied pain, that I can’t deny.
But this heart of mine is all that I have-
and though it’s aching, it is mine…
But it’s getting harder to know what is right.
– “All These Things,” The Mysterines




For her part, Metcalfe cites the album’s turbulent title track “Reeling,” the angsty and explosive “Dangerous,” and the stormy, cinematic finale “The Confession Song” as her three favorite tracks. Lyrically, she adds, “Weirdly I like ‘You caught me standing on a table, I saw you watching me fall’ in ‘Dangerous.’ I’m not really sure what this lyric means – it kind of came from nowhere – but every time I sing it live, I feel like it makes sense of something.”

I was willing and able, but I was caught in your jaws.
You caught me standing on the table, I saw you watching me fall.
I was right in the fire, I was down on my knees…
For you said that desire, oh, it’s such a dangerous thing.
I was sinking and tainted, I was shot by the gun,
You had loaded my fate in – I knew you did it for fun..
I was right in your fire, I was down on my knees,
For they say that desire, oh, it’s such the sweetest thing.
– “Dangerous,” The Mysterines
The Mysterines © Steve Gullick
The Mysterines © Steve Gullick



The Mysterines have come into their own with a strong voice that perfectly incorporates the heavy with the heartfelt and appealing:

True to its name, Reeling is nothing, if not captivating from end to end.

“I just hope that people find a reflection of themselves in it, that they can connect to it in some way,” Metcalfe shares. “That’s what I admire about my favourite records.”

The Mysterines recently capped off 2022 with the release of a four-track All These Things EP, a digital release featuring Reeling‘s catchy standout “All These Things” alongside live recordings of “All These Things,” “Dangerous,” and “Old Friends Die Hard,” taken from the band’s performance at London’s Rough Trade East earlier this year. A fitting vessel to showcase The Mysterines’ live talents, All These Things further cements the magic at the heart of this album at a time when we’re all starting to look back at and reflect on the year that was, choosing the things we’ll carry with us into 2023. When it comes to music, The Mysterines’ Reeling is an easy and obvious addition to that list. Having recently wrapped up their second North American tour, the band are also set to return to the stage next spring supporting Arctic Monkeys on their 2023 UK Stadium Tour.

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside The Mysterines’ Reeling with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

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:: stream/purchase The Mysterines here ::
Stream: ‘Reeling’ – The Mysterines



:: Inside Reeling ::

Reeling - The Mysterines

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Life’s A Bitch (But I Like It So Much)

I overheard a conversation between two older men drinking together. I’m not exactly sure what they were discussing, but they seemed to be exchanging light-hearted complaints about their wives, which I found funny to zone in and out of. One of them eventually said, “My wife is a bitch, but I love her so much.” I laughed, wrote it down, and made a song title out of it.



Hung Up

‘Hung Up’, to me, is kind of an explosion of emotion, in every way really. Especially when we play it live. It kind of taps into an aggressive passion or release, there’s a strong sense of honesty when it’s performed, and the meaning sort of shape shifts depending on what it is that is inside of me that day. It reads and sounds like a love song, which I guess it is and was. I apply the words to myself now, or at least the dark parts of myself.



Reeling

‘Reeling’ for me was the catalyst for the record. There was songs that had been written before ‘Reeling’ that are on the record, but when I wrote it, everything just made more sense to me about what it was we were trying to create. I do believe songwriting is like a divination technique in a way and that songs can be gifted to you from higher energies/God/ the universe etc… Whatever you believe in. ‘Reeling’ was channelled from somewhere else outside of my being. I blame Alejandro Jodorowsky and his film ‘Santa Sangre’ … I watched that film the night before I woke up and wrote ‘Reeling’… which is why in the lyrics I mention “holy blood”, as that’s what ‘Santa Sangre’ translates to in Spanish.



Old Friends Die Hard

This is a fictional story featuring a character called ‘Frankie’. I don’t think I actually know anyone called Frankie – it’s a good job really considering it’s a murder song, ha-ha. It’s a play on words from the saying ‘old habits die hard’, and in the story I manipulate a “Nice N Sleazy” character called ‘Frankie’ to kill all his friends with the promise I’ll make him famous… then, the twist is, he’s famous for his killings. It’s supposed to kind of reflect our dark humour as a band, and not to be taken too seriously. People get really annoyed that I rhymed ‘sleazy’ with ‘sleevey’ in this song … I thought it was quite funny.

Dangerous

Dangerous holds a similar quality to ‘Hung Up’, acting as a release for something inside that you can’t quite grasp. It’s pretty emotional for me to sing live, I’ve often called ‘Dangerous’ the gateway song, as I really used to struggle being vulnerable on stage… I had no choice with this song, I had to be, and that’s now spilt like colourful ink all into the other songs, and I actually enjoy getting myself in that space.



On The Run

Inspired by Terrence Malik’s ‘Badlands’ that features a young couple that go on a killing spree and are in fact, ‘On The Run’.  The shots in Badlands are beautiful, and we really wanted to capture that imagery in the sound so, there was a purposeful decision for the use of the slide guitar on it.

Under Your Skin

I think this was the first song written for the record, before I even knew I was writing one, ha-ha! I was 17 and I had bunked off college to go to our practise room. I was resitting maths at the time and used to skip as many of those classes as I could. There was this hollow body red airline guitar in the practise room, which I think belonged to one of the other bands, The Coral. I plugged it in, and I just remember playing ‘Under Your Skin’. As simple and weird as that sounds, that’s kind of just how it went. I wrote the lyrics that day. I remember the weather outside was thunder, lightning, raining heavily… and there was this huge moth flying around the practise room, and landed on my lyrics as I finished them and died… it was weird. I know how obscure this story sounds but, I cellotaped the dead moth in my notebook underneath the original first drafted lyrics of ‘Under Your Skin’.

The Bad Thing

Another humorous (ish), murder song. You get the gist now. The poem at the start is about a girl, who misses her lover from the grave so much, that she decides to dig him up and play with his remains. “I ripped the flesh right off the bone, just to feel him again”. Anyway, at the end of the poem she gets dragged into his grave down into the depths of Hell as “Heaven heard {she} did a bad, bad thing”. It’s meant to be so dramatic it’s kind of funny? Playfully melancholy.



In My Head

The concept for ‘In My Head’ was taken from Leonard Cohen’s ‘Avalanche’. You can listen to the song as a love / heartbreak song, thinking it’s about somebody else but, it’s actually addressed to himself / about himself. I wanted ‘In My Head’ to do a similar thing. Maybe you will listen differently now.



Means To Bleed

About selling your soul to the devil.

All These Things

Lyrics were heavily inspired by the Johnny Cash song ‘I See A Darkness’ – the honesty of the song really inspired me to write something less about hell and more about myself, haha!



Still Call You Home

We did this one take, one microphone, late at night at the studio. We had been recording another song during the day, I think it may have been ‘Means to Bleed’, but Catherine had asked me if I’d be up for doing one take of ‘Still Call You Home’ and I didn’t see why not. Me and Catherine sat in the room together opposite each other on the floor, turned all the room mics off and had the room quite dark, we set up one mic to record both the guitar and vocal simultaneously, that was it. It happened and we put it on the record.

The Confession Song

I had written these lyrics years before I put it to any music, the original version of ‘The Confession Song’ sounds like something straight off Tom Waits’ ‘Rain Dogs’ and is also a lot faster. The song started as a poem, featuring a list of confessions, some of them I can say are 100% autobiographical and others are not. I like to create an image of Christ in this song quite often, with lyrics like “my hands are splintered through these palms, no I can’t reach for hope” is meant to represent Jesus on the cross. We love playing this live, it gets intense, and I enjoy unravelling all the confessions to the audience on stage. I think it freaks people out a bit, ha-ha.

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Reeling - The Mysterines

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📸 © Steve Gullick

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