Review Summary: Totally Rad. Album of the Year.
Have Mercy released the EP, My Oldest Friend, within the early spring of 2012, the Baltimore quartet recently has gone on several DIY tours, in which have followed to the release of their 2013 debut album, The Earth Pushed Back. The Earth Pushed Back illustrates that the Baltimore quartet has more to offer than simply poignant lyrics and catchy melodies. This year, Have Mercy is willingly to bring forth new, innovative, and bright ideas to the table of alternative and emotional hardcore. As well as they are willingly to adopt and integrate past ideas with fresh ideas.
The album opens with Level Head, a fast and upbeat track replete of hammering drums, clean guitar riffs, and harmonious vocals. The production of the album by the way is absolutely incredible; this track Level Head, in particular is audibly clear and crisp. One can definitely hear the thickness of the bass and the hissing of the bright cymbals within the background. Thank you to the head of the production of this album, J.Robbins (Producer of Braid, Fairweather, Hostage Calm). Also, one might suggest that the voice of the front man of this band, Brian Swindle, is almost impossible to mimic. His voice is practically reminiscent of the unique sounds of bands like Seahaven, Makeout Party, and possibly even Brand New. Ironically enough, his voice can be extremely raw and punkish, in which in fact gives some variety to the album.
On the track This Old Ark, the band really twists with their instrumentations and dynamics. From the subtle chord progressions to the swaying hi-hat grooves, the band displays flawless effort throughout the track. This track along with Let’s Talk About Your Hair are the essential motifs of the album in its entirety. Within the last fifty seconds of This Old Ark, the track raises another bar of emotion with the beautifully impeccable lines that read, I never knew how much I’d miss it till it’s gone, I still listen to your favorite song… Lyrically the album is fantastic, Brian gives vivid description of his memories of a girl whom he loved dearly; furthermore, he entails the lyrics with a sense of nostalgia and longing. The lyrical theme of the album deals with the loss of a love one and its everlasting repercussions on the human soul.
Let’s Talk About Your Hair is easily one of the strongest tracks on this album, where the guitars are soaring and the drums are heavily played, one can hear the pounding of the tom-tom paradiddles in the midst of the twinkly ambiance. The vocals are emotionally staggering; Brian channels so much energy and velocity in a short amount of time. His voice is a strong tide that literally moves from pitch to pitch, while all the rest of the instruments proceed to ascend faster and faster at unbelievable speeds. As the track concludes as Brian reiterates the memorable chorus, the production of the instruments becomes louder and the atmosphere becomes almost rainless, however, everything gradually becomes softer and softer towards the very end. Just beautiful.
Lastly, the final track of the album, When I Sleep, is a spectacular closure; it has the acoustic and visceral elements of all the previous tracks. The tone of this track is somewhat dark yet hopeful too. The electric guitars noodle silently along with the heartsick lyrics. Vocally this song hits home, Brian moves between gorgeously quiet and loud vocals; while at the same time he exhibits incredible sentiment. In terms of the track lyrically, the track is a cathartic experience. From the sudden vocal transitions to the impressively euphonic tunes, this track opens and closes with delightfully musical composition. The Earth ultimately shook and pushed back at the moment Brian shouted, "Why were you not next to me!"
Of course, there are more tracks that are fantastic; but these tracks have stood out the most. For an alternative indie emo outfit that is relatively new to the scene, they really know how to keep the listener engaged. This album is still worth every second to listen. Please do not miss out; they have much to offer.
Recommended Tracks: Level Head, Let's Talk About Your Hair, This Old Ark, When I Sleep, Weak At The Knees