Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mercies - Blue Against Green (2014-2015)

2/21/15 11:45PM

Well the band/Random Records record label were nice enough to send me an advanced copy of this new album, which is being released on March 31st, 2015.

I received it this past week and of course I spent a fair amount of time taking it in.

At this point, I can say a few things about it.

-I enjoy every track
-The sound/style is very much a continuation from Three Thousand Days, their debut record from 2011; in the dreamy, somewhat stripped down, pop that features a ton of incredible vocal lines and vocal harmonies from Josh Rheault.
-The production is crystal clear and clean.
-It's very much a record that is acoustic in many ways.

Those points aside, the highlights are for me at this point:
"Every Echo" "Open Ocean" "Zalea" 'We Tried" 'Something to Lose" and "Atwater." At least 3 or 4 of these tracks have those wonderful, dreamy vocal phrases that I'm a sucker for. Although I guess I can say they come and go on almost every track.

I recall the comparison to The Dear Hunter comes up of course since Josh (and Sammy Dent as well) were touring members. But for whatever reason, I think of at least somewhat of the style/sound TDH did with the Yellow EP, this album and a lot of Mercies sound shares in common.

That almost retro approach to pop/power-pop with acoustic tinges and like I've said a bazillion times, just infectiously dreamy harmonies. I think part of it is Josh Rheault's kind of distinct style of vocals (he seems to sing many of the harmonies too when they are layered/multi-tracked), and some of that is purely just how well the vocal lines that were written. They just work, if you enjoy that kind of pop.

I recall saying this about Three Thousand Days, and the same holds true with this record, in that they are *that* good, so much so, the masses/trend-pop audience could totally go for them. But others as well,  that to expect it or even care a ton about if it happens is silly. But Mercies continue to be a case of a very talented and underground secret in the world of pop/rock music, that they potentially could finder a much wider audience.

Now myself, who finds often a disconnect when that happens, kind of would prefer it to not happen so much. But the obvious advantage is to see a band who deserve more success than they seem to receive, actually receive it, and continue to make music (and do more touring).

But if that doesn't happen and they continue to make records as good as this, I really don't have reason to be down about it.

Josh recently helped out Kimbra on tour, and given that, I wonder if she knows about Mercies and if so, if she's heard any of their music and what her take on this record could be. Maybe Mercies could tour with her at some point?

I should make some kind of video of course about this record in the coming days/weeks and also more details I suppose in the near future (mid-season countdown likely). But for now, I can just add that if you enjoyed their past work (also The Ballet EP from 2012), this shouldn't disappoint. Is it vastly different? no, but I don't think it has to be because the elements of Mercies sound people have enjoyed or enjoy, should also enjoy on Blue Against Green.

The below link/embed has the 1st track (single) "Zalea" for streaming, which is a track after you listen to it 2 or 3 times, may grow on you on how good it is.

1 Every Echo            3:52
2 Open Ocean            3:38
3 Zalea                    3:58
4 Only at Night          3:42
5 Atwater                    3:05
6 Something to Lose  4:36
7 White Fir            3:04
8 Deeper Sleeper       2:59
9 We Tried            4:09
10 No Blue            3:28
11 Buffalo            3:28

12/29/14 3:59PM

Being released "Early 2015" on Random Records.

The 1st single is titled "Zalea"

2011's LP Three Thousand Days was an awesome debut record, and it sounds like they have not lost the vocal harmonies that made that record so good. Josh Rheault and company (ex TREOS and The Dear Hunter members) I'm very excited to finally get to hear from again. I wonder if the time Josh spent with Kimbra on the road in November influenced any part of this album (although he told me it was mostly done by then, but who knows?).