Though all-female bands have grown in number, they can still be a rarity. Beginning with Goldie & The Gingerbreads, who were the first all-girl group to sign with a major record label in 1962, acts like The Runaways, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, The Dixie Chicks, All Saints, Fifth Harmony, and Haim have shown that on-stage girl power can be a very compelling thing.
In 2017, we’re indisputably aware that women, like their male counterparts, can do it all. They can successfully juggle families, friends, careers, side hobbies, and all the other vicissitudes of life. There are no physical limits to self-fulfillment, and any that do exist are self-imposed. Empowerment starts with the mind and is manifested via the application of courage. The Mrs is a four-woman band that not only epitomizes this, but accurately reflects the continually improving equality of the sexes. Group founder Andra Liemandt (drums), Jenny Mason (bass), Mandy Prater (guitar/vocals), and Larissa Ness (keyboard/vocals) are all from Austin, TX, (Mason and Liemandt also have children), married, and remain doubtlessly liberated.
Best of all, they’re all really talented and have coalesced to not only create very catchy tunes that have seen two of their singles (“Enough” and “You Told Me” from EP Enough) make the top 20 of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, but have used their burgeoning recognition to make a positive difference in how women see themselves in the mirror (as demonstrated with their “Magic Mirror” video on YouTube). With their self-titled album released earlier this year, they recently put their musicality and rousing messages on display during a 45-minute set at The Hotel Café in Hollywood, CA, on May 11th.
The group made an immediate impression with songs from their newest album – an up-tempo, sonorous sound that can be best described as a celebration of the past and a call toward the future. Cool synthesized sounds that were a hallmark of the 80s (done skillfully by Ness using her keyboard) nicely complement the instrumentally smooth flourishes and resonant lyrics that are perhaps more representative of today.
For instance, “Blink of an Eye” and “Beast” take us through pleasing harmonic journeys while imparting a wisdom that reminds us to make the most of ourselves. In “Blink of an Eye,” stirringly sung lyrics like “running out of breath, running out of time, life will pass you by” ask us to live prosperously in the moment, and in “Beast,” we’re asked to “believe the animal inside you is beautiful” so that we can “live a little.”
Similarly, “Grace” and “Dare Me” are about loving oneself on both the outside and inside, where self-acceptance becomes the precursor to having the strength to be vulnerable and to therefore love. Specifically, the lyrics in “Dare Me” signify the grit and risk that love requires — “I used to hesitate, I used to run away…dare me once, you don’t have to ask me twice, I’m so over that.” Needless to say, these four mature women are speaking from a combined experience that serves as invaluable advice.
And, while learning to surrender and thereby love demands an immense courage, so does the capacity to know when one is not being treated right by a romantic partner, which might necessitate moving on from a toxic relationship. “Cleaning House” encapsulates the crux of this, especially when things go really sour in a relationship, making it known how important it is to not allow another partner to negatively affect your self-worth, and what to do about it if it happens – “I’m sick of the way he’s bringing me down…breathe it in, let it out, I see things clearly now, I can do without, so I’m cleaning house.”
One might say that, from a lyrically narrative standpoint, the aftermath of “Cleaning House” is “Somewhere to Go.” With its awesome, thunderclap-style drumming by Liemandt, who didn’t know how to play the drums eight years ago – “Somewhere to Go” underscores how everything will likely work itself out in the end, conveying to its listeners to “believe, be strong, keep breathing” because “down the endless road, you will always have somewhere to go.”
Certainly, it is this perfect mixture of positively affecting lyrics and refreshingly pop melodiousness that will continue to endear The Mrs to not only other female listeners, but to anyone who appreciates great music founded on a raw honesty. Undoubtedly, these four women have something meaningful to say.