Review Summary: Beating a sad, uninspired, and quite dead horse.
Baltimore’s own Have Mercy have had a fairly rocky path from their inception in 2011. They released their first EP in 2012 titled My Oldest Friend
and their well received Topshelf debut The Earth Pushed Back
quickly followed within the next year. After a few DIY tours and word got around, they quickly were signed onto Hopeless Records’ ever-growing roster the next year. Shortly after the signing, and not even a year and a half after The Earth Pushed Back
, they released their sophomore effort A Place of Our Own
which featured a similar formula but was more watered down in production with the band losing a lot of its grit for a more accessible sound. The band seemed to be heading downward as the album featured a lot of seemingly half baked ideas with a muddy-samey attitude throughout the albums duration. In 2016 however, 3/4 of the band left singer Brian Swindle as the sole member of the outfit, throwing out any previous hope I had for a future release, as I figured a lot of the atmospheric instrumentals would most likely be thrown out in favor for whatever Swindle and/or Hopeless desired.
And boy was I right. Their devolution has snowballed to the point where any feelings of atmosphere and emotion have been thrown out the window in place for a more formulaic and generalized emo-pop with weak production and a mix as unbalanced as a kid with one leg on a trampoline. The instrumentation on this record feels like it was inspired by them going to see a Jawbreaker cover band that were high on NyQuil and then trying to replicate it in the studio the next day. There is nothing unique or inspiring about it except the odd guitar line that will pop up every other song or so. The only redeeming factor is that Swindle has still managed to keep some of his vocal tricks intact, with definitely not his grittiest performance but possibly his most improved and cleaned up performance to date. His songwriting, definitely has not had the same effect unfortunately. A lot of the lyrics are left feeling samey and mundane, with generic lyrics you could find from any teenage angst ridden emo record talking about past lovers and growing up such as “Tired of your *** / Your dirty lips kiss the ground he walks on / Does he make you feel like heaven when he speaks" / He's got the same ***ed look as me / Confused and always angry / That's why you left, but I digress / It's not the best for you and me,”
from track six “Reaper”. While a lot of the record has to offer isn’t necessarily terrible, it leaves the listener wanting more and something different.
Overall, Make The Best Of It
is left feeling even more uninspired than 2015’s A Place of Our Own
, which at least had its redeeming factors and songs such as the phenomenal introspection "Two Years". The mixing suppresses the vocals which is arguably one of, if not, the only saving grace this record has to offer, as the instrumentation feels lazy and redundant. Any sense of atmosphere and emotion that their previous efforts offered have been replaced by muddy and unimaginative production with copy-paste lyrics that could have been written by a 14 year old girl. In reality, you’re probably just better off giving The Earth Pushed Back
another spin because that record at least has atmosphere and staying power.