On their first full-length release, Heart Hunger, Oakland-based Meernaa--Carly Bond (vocals, guitar), Rob Shelton (keys), Doug Stuart (bass), and Andrew Maguire (drums, percussion)--plumbs the depths of indigo waters. Celestial and soulful, Meernaa’s songs manage to remain grounded in the natural world. Native Cat Recordings will release their highly-anticipated album on 6/14/2019. These songs are reckonings; they are revelations of secrets; they are lonesome wanderings. They are portraits of emotional evolution, rich illustrations of painful pasts and hopeful futures.
Meernaa’s first EP, Strange Life, took them across the country on West- and East-coast tours. Between these runs, the band convened in the studio to build Heart Hunger. Bond had spent much of the prior year writing the skeletons of these songs in isolation, both in her adopted hometown of Oakland, and in the wilds of Big Sur. “Oakland is a place that inspires a lot of extroverted energy and observation of how other people live and survive,” Bond says. “And at times it’s really beautiful and other times it’s really ugly. And Big Sur is more this neutral and natural space. A place of reflection and rest.” In the studio, Shelton, Stuart, and Maguire composed their own parts, refining Bond’s raw materials. They worked closely with engineers James Riotto and Jacob Winik to add layers of color and texture. The resulting 11 songs are at once intricate and immediate, joyous and full of ache.
Meernaa’s body of work is “a master class in synth wizardry that manages to bow before the throne of analog gear geekdom without ever sounding fussed over, or getting bogged down in its own minutiae,” says Max Savage Levenson on Not Dead Yet: Bay Area. Of Bond’s songwriting, Amelia Maher of The Line of Best Fit says, “you will find that Meernaa's head honcho's imagination is as intriguing as it is beguiling and mysterious.”
The album’s name Heart Hunger was inspired by the title of a poem written by Bond’s great-great-grandmother. At the time of the album’s inception, Bond had uncovered a long-hidden family trauma. Following this revelation, Bond found herself grappling with both grief and anger as she examined the tremendous hurt the women in her line bore before her, that they passed onto each other through generations. “This record is an ode to all the women that came before me, an acknowledgement of their trauma. It’s me recognizing that and trying to find compassion and the courage to examine the repetition through our history,” Bond says. Heart Hunger is a process album, written in layers, composed in phases.
It is also a story about the labor of healing and the beauty within its pursuit. While she was writing the first iterations of these songs, Bond was diving deep into herbalism studies. She was learning about the nature of plants, their folklore, symbolism and their capability to help heal not just the physical body, but emotional and spiritual as well. Through studying and practicing using plants herself she began to see a path to her own re-blooming. Just before Meernaa finished recording their album, Bond and Shelton married in Big Sur, against the backdrop of the Pacific ocean and cosmic roar.
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