Mereba Perseveres Through Difficult Times on 'AZEB' EP

Mereba Perseveres Through Difficult Times on 'AZEB' EP
In George Miller's classic film Mad Max, Australia's dystopian society has just begun. The roads are still intact but society is visibly crumbling. The country's authority has seemingly been overrun by motorbike gangs and all signs of government are gone. Mereba's latest EP, AZEB, reflects the post-apocalyptic society of the Mad Max series but offers a quieter and more distraught point of view of a world that's falling apart in real time.

Though AZEB isn't as violent or outwardly angry as any of the Mad Max films, Mereba wastes no time pointing out humanity's constant conflicts — her first words on opener "Aye" is "Aye, aye, there's a war every day," while on second track "Rider," she sings, "The world feels like a war / Tell me what living's for." (In the latter's music video, Mereba and a lover are seen dancing on a canvas of nothingness and empty deserts, further evoking the Mad Max parallels.)

The production on the seven tracks is sparse and minimalistic. The quietness of the EP's soundscape reflects Mereba's sombre lyrics, especially on standout "News Come," where she hopes for Black liberation ("Freedom for my people is urgent / And you know we deserve it / Tell me, who are you servin'?") and decries online slacktivism ("News come, news go / Still, we fight when the screen's closed"). Though it might be hard to envision better days, Mereba succeeds at telling her story in a vulnerable and poetic way, helped especially by simple, acoustic guitar-led tracks that emphasize her angelic voice and thoughtful lyrics. 

The entire EP sees the 30-year-old singer clinging onto her love as a form of shelter from the violent, disturbed world that's shown on the news and online every day. On "Beretta," the project's most uplifting track, Mereba's at her most optimistic. On the chorus, she seems unconcerned with the world and is only focused on being with the one she loves ("It's you and me together / Baby boy, let's stick up the world for this cheddar"). This is contrasted by the next track, "Another Kin," where she explores the trauma and grief of anti-Black violence. Despite its short length, it's AZEB's heaviest moment with its central lyric, "Another kin killed today / Another stone thrown today."

AZEB is an EP about perseverance in a time where everything feels bleak and helpless. Even when Mereba is at her most optimistic, like on "Beretta" and closing track "My Moon," the darkness of the world isn't far away. Mereba's fight is not ending anytime soon, but singing about her life can help soothe the soul, at least a little bit. (Interscope)