The Mysterines Balance the Past and Present with Transformative Album ‘Afraid of Tomorrows’

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Photo Credit: Steve Gullick

A four piece band out of Britain, alt-rock outfit The Mysterines are making waves within the modern rock and roll music scene. After an explosive entrance in 2019 with their debut EP Take Control, the female-fronted band just released their sophomore full length album Afraid of Tomorrows on June 21. Exciting singles like “Stray,” “Sink Ya Teeth” and “The Last Dance” have already been dropped in anticipation for the album, which marks a new sound for the band. As long as they’re able to rock and put out new records, The Mysterines will always plan to shake things up.

Composed of front woman Lia Metcalfe, drummer Paul Crilly, bassist George Favager and guitarist Callum Thompson, the Liverpool natives have proven themselves as a definitive group within the British alt-rock industry. Afraid of Tomorrows continues to express the iconic sound that the band has established for themselves, yet this darker and more matured musicality proves that The Mysterines are not slowing down and continue to push the boundaries of their songwriting and their artistry. In anticipation of their newest record, The Mysterines sat down with Melodic Magazine to discuss their upcoming fall headlining tour, musical influences and what fans can expect from the new album.

Thank you so much for taking the time today! The new album Afraid of Tomorrows comes out today; what are you most excited about regarding the album’s release?
Paul: I think it’s just nice when you’re finally releasing new music. It’s been two years since the last album, so I think we’re all just looking forward to releasing these new songs that we’ve sat on for a while. Releasing new songs is always an exciting thing and we’re really proud of these ones as well.

I notice the recent singles off this album have almost a darker sound compared to your earlier stuff. How is this album different from your previous work?
Lia: I think that it sounds just a bit more revised and reflective to where we’re at now. There’s more of a relevancy to where we feel inspired creatively as a band and I just think it’s more of a reflection of who we are at this point. I feel like every record you do is a snapshot of where you’re at at that moment in time, and this is where we’re at now.
Paul: When we recorded the first album and we were playing those songs, we were like 20 or 21. George was about 12 (laughs). I think we’ve just grown up well also. We’ve matured as well as the sound of the band. It doesn’t sound like teenagers rocking out anymore. It’s a bit more of a measured approach. 

You guys are saying it’s more of a mature sound. Do you ever look back on your original music or your older songs and critique yourself a bit?
Lia: I think we used to a lot and, to be fair, I think we used to kind of cringe a bit at the first record. But I’ve kind of changed my opinion on it, because I don’t think it’s healthy to review something we did in the past in your present space and judge it. I think something pure about the first record is the naivety of it. I think that’s the magic of everybody’s debut. It’s almost like looking at your first kiss or the first haircut you had. It’s like, you’re never going to get it back, because you obviously realized you probably didn’t suit it that much. But it’s kind of like that, and I think for a while we played that record a lot too. We kind of became tired of that, and I think even got angry at the record itself or hated it. But now I think we got a good balance. Because we enjoy playing all the stuff live in a weird, satirical way, I suppose. It’s easy to look back and cringe at stuff, but I think you’ve got to give it the benefit of the doubt for what it is.

Going back to the new music, you’ve recently put out a music video for “Sink Ya Teeth” and you have a video for “Stray” as well – both songs off the upcoming album. The band has a huge arsenal of music videos as well, which not every band has. When it comes to music videos or visuals in general, why are creative and thought-out aesthetics so important for you?
Lia: I think it’s just another outlet of creativity and a way to describe and present the world of the record. And films are a huge thing for all of us. We’re all really into film and visuals, and I think even the way that we wrote the record was all very visual-based. Throughout the record, lyrically, there’s a lot of imagery. It’s just another form of expression of ourselves. It’s not just music for us. There’s a lot of elements that go into writing.

The album name Afraid of Tomorrows comes from the final track on the album. What’s the story behind that concept and behind the title?
Lia: I think it was just the best way to summarize the themes of the record. There’s lots of paranoia and fear throughout the record and a lot of dismantling trauma, almost. And I think the juxtaposition of trauma being in the past and the “afraid of tomorrow” being a future thing. Throughout the record there’s a revisit and imagery of clocks and it just seems to tie in, really. The song was actually written before we decided the title of the record, but we knew we wanted it to finish the album. And also with the synergy of the title and the rest of the songs, I think it just kind of made sense to call it that. It was a simple depiction of the feeling that I had around recording and writing in the record. But it’s also quite provocative too. We just like the phrase.

You say the album includes themes of past trauma and it’s more reflective than your previous work. What inspired you guys to go down this more personal route of songwriting?
Lia: I’m not sure if it was a decision that we made consciously, I think it was just what happened. I think there was, definitely within me, this need while I was going through a different place and the energy of dealing with that and putting that into creation rather than destruction. Because there’s a fine line between both of them. I think it just kind of fell out in that way. I wouldn’t say it was like we sat down and decided we wanted to be more personal. I think it was just because it was survival at that time. 

Were you hesitant about getting more personal with the songwriting, or were you ready to get it all out there?
Lia: I think it created some difficulty for me especially, because I think a lot of the lyrics are quite personal to my experiences and for a long time I found it very difficult to listen to the album after we recorded it. I was scared at the time of those things happening, and it was almost like you’ve given life to the entity that caused the destruction of this place by giving it a voice. And that voice is you. And it’s kind of hard to listen to that. But I think now we’re all in a good place with the record and, like Paul said earlier, we’re super proud of it. I think I’m in a place now where I feel like, again, it’s just a time capsule for those things, and the almost haunted nature to the past that exists in the record is just locked away now in the world of Afraid of Tomorrow. It’s kind of like putting a lid on Pandora’s box or something. It’s shut now and it’s done and we can just perform it and enjoy it. 

You guys have gotten so much praise from the press during your time as a band. It’s often said that The Mysterines stand out from other groups in the Liverpool rock scene. How does it feel to get that praise and what do you think makes you stand out from the other bands?
Paul: I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I don’t really pay any attention to what people say about us, really. Especially from the press side anyway. It’s always nice, don’t get me wrong, but we always just make music that we like and that we want to make. We don’t really think about that side of things too much. To be honest, I think with our band there’s so many influences around us. The albums to me always seem to be a little bit all over the place, which I quite like. It’s kind of a chaotic side to it, I think. We’re not one-dimensional. There’s always so much going on, but in quite a measured way. I don’t know whether it’s something to do with that. I’m not too sure. I don’t really know where that comes from to be honest.
Lia: Magic (laughs). 

You mentioned you take inspiration from a range of influences. I know you just said there’s a lot, so it might be hard to narrow them down, but who are some of your favorite influences?
Lia: There’s too much to say. I think one thing that we did do is go back and listen to stuff that we all listened to when we were younger and when you first got that initial buzz off music and you fall in love with it. We made the effort to go back to those bands and respect their records in a different way. Me and Paul went to go and watch the “Meet Me in the Bathroom” documentary, and I think even just the buzz off that just led us down a different route with the writing and things. I mean, we’re always listening to music and circulating it between ourselves and showing each other stuff in the van when we’re on tour and things. So I think influence has changed all the time really, because we’re always soaking it up. 

You guys have some exciting things on your horizon. Obviously the new album is coming out, and in the fall you have your biggest headline tour to date. How do these things feel for you guys as a band?
Paul: Exciting. We haven’t done our own headlines in a long time. When you’ve got one record, it’s hard to be a headline and I think we need quite a big body of work to be able to play that kind of set. So now we’ve got two albums and we can play longer without having to play any songs that we don’t want to play. It’s exciting. I think the gigs that we’ve done with the new songs have been some of my favorite gigs. So I think life-wise, we’re in a very good place. I think we’re all looking forward to getting to festival season and then doing our own gigs at the end of the year. 

For those who aren’t familiar with the band, what can people expect from The Mysterines?
Paul: No one really knows how long we’ll be making records for, but I think every time we do, it will be something different. I think my favorite bands have always been the ones that develop and change the sounds from record to record and I think we would like to do that. I think we’re one of those bands that can get quite bored quite easily, so we’re always trying to push ourselves to be better and always finding new ways of feeling creative and feeling inspired. So I think for as long as we will be a band together, it would be exciting, if nothing else.

Afraid of Tomorrows, the new album from The Mysterines, is out now. Stream it on Spotify or Apple Music.

Buy tickets to see The Mysterines on tour here.

The Mysterines - 'Afraid of Tomorrows' album art

Keep up with The Mysterines: Instagram // Twitter // YouTube // Spotify

Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen is a Chicago-based music journalist and freelance writer. She is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago, having earned a journalism major with a concentration in magazine writing and a minor in music business. Justice regularly contributes artist interviews, On Your Radar features and various other articles for Melodic Magazine, serving as an interviewer, writer and editor. She also writes for several other online magazine publications, including Ghost Cult Magazine, Chicago Music Guide and That Eric Alper, and her work has been featured in Sunstroke Magazine, Fever Dream Zine, ChicagoTalks and the Chicago Reader. Her favorite band is Metallica and her go-to coffee order is an iced vanilla oat milk latte with strawberry cold foam on top.

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