Double the Meridene

Renee Rosenow

“United in your focus, there still comes a day, where you must test out the waters, on your own, the waves are swaying.”

For Eau Claire band, “Meridene,” these are not just the opening lyrics to their newest album, You’re Not Pretty You’re Worse, they are a metaphor for where the band remains today.

The official release date of the album is Nov. 25, but fans will have a chance to purchase copies early at two CD release shows this weekend.

First, “Meridene” will be performing at 9 p.m. on Friday at the House of Rock, 422 Water St., opening for Minneapolis band “Halloween, Alaska.” Lead singer Trevor Carl Ives feels this 21-plus show will draw a big audience.

“The ‘Halloween, Alaska’ show is one we are very excited about,” Ives said. “They draw a great crowd in and of themselves. Attendance is essentially mandatory.”

The second show will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday at The Grand Little Theater, 102 West Grand Ave. This is an all ages show.

Admission to both shows is $5.

UW-Eau Claire music major and junior Andy Detra is excited about both shows.

“I will be there,” Detra said. “I love their country rhythms with pop punk attitude. It keeps me coming back for more.”

You’re Not Pretty You’re Worse showcases a new line-up of band members than those who played on last year’s release, A Very Strange Bear. In fact, Ives is the only original member.

The new “Meridene” features three sophomore Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I members, drummer Dave Power, pianist Paul Brandt and bassist Shane McLaughlin. Eric Rykal rounds out the band on guitar.

Ives feels the new lineup of the band makes song writing a very democratic process.

“With the guys we have now the finished track is always changed and improved from what I thought initially,” Ives said.

Former “Meridene” member and senior Andy Plank agrees.

“They definitely took a 360 turn for the better,” Plank said. “The songwriting is stronger by leaps and bounds, and the new style fits really well.”

“Meridene’s” press release describes the change as well.

The release states: “The band’s sound has morphed on its most recent effort, from its late and familiar banjo-toting-alt-country to its current blend of sportive, yet hard hitting at times, indie/rock power pop.”

The recording process on this current recording was much more professional then on their last album, A Very Strange Bear, Ives said.

Seven of the 10 tracks on the new album were recorded in Rykal’s studio. Two of them were recorded in Ives’ basement and one was recorded in Rykal’s home.

After the album was recorded, Zack Hanson performed the mastering process. Ives viewed Hanson’s contribution to the process as very important.

“I was impressed,” Ives said. “Once the mastering was done it was amazing how shiny and polished it was.”

Local music label Amble Down Records is releasing the album.

Amble Down Records is also the home to recordings of other projects by musicians in “Meridene.” Rykal’s other band, “The Gentle Guest,” recently released a new album, We Are Bound To Save Some Souls Tonight, on the label.

Amble Down Records’ owner Kyle Frenette feels that “Meridene” is a very positive member of his organization.

“It’s a pleasure for us to have ‘Meridene’ on Amble Down Records,” Frenette said. “They are one the poppiest bands in town.”