Rolling Stone's David Fricke states, "The Mermen play an extreme brand of surf music; the trebly turbulent and black minor chord moods of guitarist Jim Thomas are like a rough ride on the icy seas of the mid-Atlantic," the Village Voice states, "Amazing, cascading waves of dreamlike sound," and Guitar Player Magazine calls Thomas's guitar playing, "Liquid poetry." The LA Times says the Mermen's music "Šrefuses to be pigeonholed by soaring in all directions--from pretty, atmospheric psychedelia to electrifying Hendrix-esque soloing to punchy punk inspired riffing." But, to their diehard fan base, The Mermen's melodic, hook-laden and evocative music saturates the soul with the California spirit, experience and emotion that transcends the instrumental surf-guitar rock/jam-band genre.
Songwriter and guitarist Jim Thomas channels the Golden State's sun-drenched, surf and sand coastal lifestyle love affair with sound and tone as drastic and dynamic as the icy San Francisco Ocean Beach surf one second, to the warmth of a San Diego Sunset and beach bonfire the next.
California comes alive with an electric vibrancy with every glassine note, crystalline riff, ingenious chord change, frantic, frenetic and flavorful arpeggios, harried hammer-ons, screaming scales and nuanced-to-brilliantly, blunt, and blatant applications of vibrato, reverb and tremolo that leaves the hair on the back of your neck and arms standing straight-up. To say that Thomas approaches his instrument with the fervor and imagination of Dick Dale, humor of Cheap Trick's Rick Neilsen, and the playing skills of Eric Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan is a massive understatement.
Backed by a rhythm section of bassist Allen Whitman and drummer Martyn Jones, they lay a foundation as thick and tasty as caramel and crème liqueur for Thomas's fretboard pyrotechnics. Not relegated to simply thumping out 1-3-5 root note bass lines along with laisser-faire kick-snare-high-hat drumming - so common of the surf-rock genre - the dynamic duo's innovative and harmonious underpinnings are a fusion of John Paul Jones and John Bonham thunder and Geddy Lee and Neil Peart creativity.
The resulting emotional response to The Mermen's music is best described as the exhilaration of being swept weightless at breakneck speed by the surf, spray and wind on the perfect Mavericks tube ride that never ends.
Rolling Stone Magazine's David Fricke concludes, "Hints of Dick Dale filter through the cracked sidewalk waveforms of Sonic Youth. Thomas sounds more like Neil Young at the wheel of the good ship Crazy Horse."