Fern Mayo – “Open Work”

Katie Capri has the kind of voice that twists and turns in completely unexpected ways, keeping you on edge even when you’ve heard a song several times. She’s the frontwoman for the Brooklyn trio Fern Mayo, who make an urgent, jangling ’90s-leaning rock that explores deep emotional territory. “Open Work,” for example, which premiered today via the excellent blog The Le Sigh (a site you should begin reading if you’ve never stumbled across it yet), excavates the weirdly tense world of female competition. Because we live in a patriarchal capitalist society that forces women to compete for perceived scarcity of jobs or the attention of men, a certain animosity often springs up between women — especially when they succeed. Capri spoke at length with The Le Sigh about how her friends and peers would bring examples of other women’s success to her attention in a way that felt designed to provoke animosity:

I realized these comparisons, either made to intentionally manipulate my emotions or as a byproduct of social conditioning, weren’t just pitting me against these women but what’s worse, they were pitting me against myself… they were turning up the spotlight on the virtues of these girls in such a way that cast *the illusion of* a shadow over any space left for me to succeed, speak or even connect with these rad girls!

This is a message that totally deserves to be heard, but what’s better is that Fern Mayo makes it worth hearing. Their sparse, tight-knit melodies evoke the tension this song discusses, bending and breaking at just the right moments to mirror the song’s tiny rebellion. For more from this relatively new band make sure to listen to the shambolic “Subsweet” and seasick first single “Going Somewhere.” But listen to “Open Work” below because it’s their strongest track yet.

Happy Forever is out 10/2 via Miscreant Records.

Tags: Fern Mayo