Ours
Mercy (Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
May 18th, 2008 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Four years of preparation pays positive and negative consequences.

For nearly half of my life, I have traveled a half an hour to euphonium lessons. On the way home, I take the back road way home, through open fields and wooden utopias. I have many memories of long discussions with my mother, when she drove me, and realizations about my life. Twisting, turning, and unforgiving, this road is as enclosing as it is expansive, and for that reason correlates with the music of Ours’ latest- Mercy (Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy).

Dynamically, Mercy is a true achievement. It grows and recedes masterfully, making the hour long journey through the album not only bearable but also enjoyable. In tempo, instrumentation, and volume, the album varies enough to never repeat itself, but keeps enough of a core sound to stay coherent. Under the financial foundation of Rick Rubin, Jimmy Gnecco and the current members of Ours got everything they wanted- strings, brass, multitudes of guitar effects, and layers upon layers of sound. The capabilities of these layering techniques are exemplified on “Ran Away to Tell the World.” Aside from a nice interlude in the middle of the song, it relies on the same chord progression and vocal melodies for the entire five minutes. As cellos, more guitar sounds, and vocal harmonies build upon this foundation, the song grows until its breaking point where it simply stops instead of breaking into a huge climax. The release point is perfect, a true demonstration of the band’s dynamic awareness.

The centerpiece of Ours’ sound, however, is the voice of Jimmy Gnecco. His celestial qualities fall somewhere between Bono and Gavin Hayes of dredg. At times, his voice floats perfectly above the sounds of the band, mostly in the more energetic and louder moments of the album. For this reason, songs like “Willing” and “Saint” work well. Even after all these years, though, Gnecco lacks restraint and ruins some of the quieter moments on the album with vocal melodies that make no sense in the context of the song. In “Murder”, he keeps his voice subdued perfectly for the first verse, but he comes up in intensity quicker than the song, finding no middle ground between quiet and loud. When the band finally matches him in volume, it sounds great. His elevated vocals on “Mercy” drag on for a bit too long and thus, the song lacks in contrast for such a lengthy (near seven minutes) song. To create contrast in “Black”, he enters a spoken word rant that, for lack of a better description, sounds stupid. Moments like these bring the album down, while the climatic moments are purely brilliant.

Other flaws on the album are mostly momentary, except for the compositional misstep “The Worst Things Beautiful”, which sounds like a cross between a bad U2 single and a bad Coldplay single. For the most part, Mercy flows well and is a catchy brand of spacey rock. Rick Rubin’s production accentuates the band’s strengths and allowed them to find the perfect sound for their record. While their sound is fairly pigeon-holed throughout the album, it is an open, round sound. Like the road I travel every Monday night, it stays in one lane but travels through fields and woods alike. The four year preparation to the album’s rewards pays its dividends, but also shows a bit of overthinking on the band’s part.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
April 20th 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I meant to get this out Tuesday, but Bill Clinton came to my town so I went to see him instead. Then I was in Hershey for all-state band Wednesday-Saturday.

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2008


6100 Comments


Whole first paragraph is fairly awkward.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
April 20th 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I played around with that a lot and through the editing it got really messed up. Fixed, I hope.

fireaboveicebelow
April 20th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, but I don't agree about Worst Things Beautiful, I hate U2 but I love that song.

This album has a few fillers (IE: Moth, Get Up) but the good songs are really really good. Plus, God Only Wants You sounds a bit much like Jeff Buckley's Lover You Should've Come Over but in a really bad way

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 20th 2008


4461 Comments


Sounds like something I might listen to.

As for the review, overall good ideas and what not, but you need better diction. In fact you need to use more synonims (which I probably didn't spell right)

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2008


6100 Comments


unrelated to previous posts, but:

climatic


TheGreatD17
June 25th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Jimmy Gnecco is great when he is singing in his own voice, but his Bono imitations really weaken some of the songs on this album. More songs like "Willing" and this could have been their best album.

fireaboveicebelow
June 25th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is more of an accomplishment than Precious even though a couple of tracks here are iffy

TheGreatD17
June 26th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I used to think this was better, but it's grown off me over time. I just think he's better when he's more restrained.

cirq
June 26th 2009


9265 Comments


saw them with circa survive and fear before a couple years ago... they suck

TheGreatD17
June 26th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ha, you might be one of the people mentioned in fireabove's Distorted Lullabies review.

fireaboveicebelow
June 26th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hahaha oh no...

I used to think this was better, but it's grown off me over time. I just think he's better when he's more restrained.
it took me about 100 listens of Precious to understand your angle lol, it's that certain specific appeal I can't describe

jingledeath
June 26th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ran Away to Tell the World is the best thing on here

fireaboveicebelow
June 26th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

possibly

Society Sellout
October 12th 2009


292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ours wrote some good songs on this album. I just wish U2 hadn't be allowed into the studio while Ours was making this album.

PuddlesPuddles
January 31st 2010


4787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feeeeeel like I'm liiiivvinnnnggg
And I feel like aaaaa babbyyy



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