A musical way to remember him by
The Test Icicles founder, singer-songwriter and producer, Sam Mehran, is honored through his works in his newest album Cold Brew. This new record is composed of instrumental songs Mehran was currently working on before his untimely death in 2018. Mehran’s career was vast and filled with monumental sounds ranging from disco, punk to pop. Even after his death, he has left behind a charismatic catalog presented in this new solo record. With the blessing of his father, his works were pieced together by good friends Katie Wagner and Nicholas Weiss from the group Teengirl Fantasy. The album is out today, all to honor the third anniversary of his passing.
The late American-Australian singer-songwriter kicked off his career as one of the founders of the group Test Icicles in 2004, though it was short, as the group broke up in 2006. After the band parted ways, Mehran created his solo projects called Matrix Metals and Outer Limits Recordings (OLR), which propelled him in gaining notoriety as a musician and producer. He was well known for playing his part in several different musical projects, including producing a joint project with Marion Belle. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete the record, and in honor of his death, that project was titled Marion Belle and Sam Mehran Present: MELT. Cold Brew is a compilation of his works as he left them with this being his first-ever solo album put out under his name. The album is filled with catchy guitar hooks, luscious funky synth soundscapes, with moments of grit and a sprinkle of whimsy, all set to be released under Weird World records.
The title track and first single, “Cold Brew,” kicks off with the unmistakable sound of a straw sucking up every last bit of iced coffee gold at the bottom of the glass. The song is a stacker, starting with a simple drum groove that flows through the whole song accompanied by a gritty synth bass. With each section, the song stacks with a new element, ever building and growing. Flowing chimes vibe in and out, giving this song a modern-day ‘70s vibe.
The second single introduced off the record is “Loungy.” This carries the same gritty synth as “Cold Brew,” but the mood surrounding the synth is changed. With a higher octave piano synth that comes through in the hook, it reminds one of the old ‘80s arcade game OutRun, feeling like an eight-bit cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway with the ocean to the left.
A commanding bass blasts out to catch the attention on the track “70.” The bass line flows through the full song with a joining guitar that plays the same notes following along, adding body and bite. But undoubtedly, the best part is the high-octave harmony that peeks through as it brings a surge of energy. Bringing on his punk tone, “XYLO” is a punk-pop fusion. The track bounces off the walls and though it features punk elements, it is nearly impossible not to dance around.
Continuing his punk tone, Mehran adds some punk punch to the track “Normie.” This track is an upbeat, fast-paced and gritty punk borderline industrial track with a chugging bassline and swirling synth that pulses throughout. When the hook kicks in, it is a storm of high gain guitar where everything gets turned up to 11. “Steelsie” is a funky vibe to assist in a soulful strut down the boardwalk. It carries a ’60s, yet still modern, groove that rides smooth, with moments of clipping gain on the bass and a driving drum; when the electric guitar comes in, it plays right to the heart.
Track “61” is a fun, almost cinematic, fast-paced song that reminds listeners of a ‘60s car chase. It dazzles with elements of disco-pop with a dirty edge giving the feeling of being chased, which may lead to a heart-racing adrenaline rush. Closing out the album, “Soaked” drops the tempo down a bit, creating a flowing feeling. The track is a wide, aromatic soundscape full of reverb and delay filling the mind and ears with a calming feeling.
Cold Brew is an upbeat instrumental album that houses grit and power but is also dressed with delicate moments. Though passed on, Sam Mehran left behind a beautiful catalog of music that fans can now enjoy and remember him.