"The Mercies"

(Recordbabies! 2007)Mercies - The Mercies

The Mercies recently released a self-titled, ten-song, well-meaning, good-intentioned, but a bit underwhelming record on the Record Babies label. All of the songs have positive titles, upbeat sentiments, but fail to capture their enthusiasm in words that transcend old reliable phrases, or express them with any energy outside of a friendly bounce you might get from a the theme song of a knock-off public television children's show.

Singer Mike James sounds too relaxed, like he's feeling good, but doesn't seem crazy enough to excite anybody else to join in. The music comes off like a spectator sport that can't hold an audience against faster paced, explosively passionate competition.

Everything's pleasant, pat, and pretty much innocuous. Some of the lyrics, such as in "Prettiest One of the Kind," "You Can't Stop Me Now," and "Walk Right Out" sink into the inane. There's something to be said for accentuating the positive these days, as long as you can do it in a compelling, dramatic way that can galvanize folks into really believing in something. These guys seem awful nice, but it just ain't enough.

They players are all competent. Guitar player Adam Ford shows his skill on almost every song, definitely including "A Lot to Say." He's got that high end, quick fire single note delivery down, but it's surrounded by so much saccharine that you couldn't call it an "attack." The bass and drums of Brandon Lown and Johnny Stevens are even-keeled, but never take off.

This stuff has a place somewhere. But with so many bands trying to be heard, it's hard to rally behind this. It's not that it leaves you wanting more, as much as it may find you waiting for something else.


buy it!