Fanfare for 2022: Wally’s “Mesmerism”

Fanfares, urgency, confusion, and rueful hopefulness: the mood for starting 2022. “Mesmerism,” the lead single for New Haven band Wally’s forthcoming EP, melds dream pop and hep jazz. The result is tongue-in-cheek retro charm.

Listen along, as portentous trumpets float over the opening chords. There’s a strong feel here of an old movie soundtrack. Here’s the opening pan over Monte Carlo or down a city street. Coming up: urgency broken by musical shifts that feel like the turns in a car chase or the moment when James Bonds’ silhouette turns to point his gun.

While there’s a sense of Cocteau Twins in the polish and vocal production, the delight of the song is tracing the musical tropes. It hits every whistle of soundtrack motifs, accelerated into a fever-dream of cocktails with a dashing rogue or femme fatale.

Two clues that it’s 2022 are the aggressive beat and the collapse, at the bridge, into AM-radio echoes. We’re moving at the speed of hyper-reality, and it’s hard to keep reality together.

Amid lyrics that touch on memory and moments, the words to live by are “I’ve been such an old fool, still new to this.” It’s a hopeful phrase but not a naive one. Most important, it comes with trumpet fanfares, and in 2022, we all deserve fanfares.

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