Hey Mercedes
"Loses Control"

(Vagrant Records 2003)Hey Mercedes - Loses Control

In the midst of the recent commercial success of both emo and pop punk with the MTV generation, you can only imagine that Vagrant Records would not mind a bit if Hey Mercedes were to become the next big thing. With their second album, "Loses Control," Hey Mercedes sound not unlike Jimmy Eat World. The album, with their mix of melodic, catchy songs, is not quite pop punk or emo.

"Quality Revenge At Last," the album's first track is a catchy and quick paced song. The song's good instrumentation on the intro is a trend that continues with each track, making the first few seconds of the songs just as good as any other part. Continuing with their musically upbeat style, the album's instrumentation rarely strays from that mold, "It's Been A Blast" gets slightly harder and more assertive than the opening track while the familiar sound riff that carries "Playing Your Song" makes it impossible not to follow along and remember later. The album's midsection of "Knowing When To Stop" and "Boy Destroyers" are a bit more serious sounding, less light pop, but still retain that memorable appeal.

Led by a very pretty, if not simple, melody, Hey Mercedes take it slow on "Unorchestrated." "And upstairs the crowds have all gathered to see/how they can make money off tragedy," guitarist/vocalist Robert Nanna sings on the more easy going and laid back sounding "Police Police Me," before he wishes a "good night, blood suckers/sleep tight, indie trash." With another jangling riff resonating throughout the song, "Oh Penny," the band makes mention of "my dear Sharona." Ironically, it is The Knack's "My Sharona" that the earlier riff from "Playing Your Song" sounds to have been inspired by; and maybe a smidge of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated," too. The heavier guitar on "The Switch" adds for a nice change while the unique vocal line on the slower and memorable "Absolute Zero Drive" makes for another good sing along like "Unorchestrated." Hey Mercedes finish up with the thumping "Go On Drone."

The nice thing about "Loses Control" is you can hear every instrument -- it has not been over mixed or blended. With high quality songs like these, even harder rock fans will be reluctant to admit they like at least a couple of the tracks. Despite some sound-alike moments, "Loses Control" is a collection of fun and easy going songs that get stuck in your head.

A-