Have Mercy Establishes a Place of Their Own with Sophomore Album

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Baltimore-based alternative/indie rock band, Have Mercy released their second album at the end of this past year under Hopeless Records. If you actually opened this article without knowing who Have Mercy is, you are definitely going to want to keep on reading. The first time I heard the band, I was completely floored by the raw sound of their lead singer, Brian Swindle, and the just as raw production style of the rest of their music. With a sound that at first reminded me of Polar Bear Club, it dawned on me quickly that this band had found a unique niche of music that was in dire need of being filled. Image source: altpress.com

Their first full-length album, The Earth Pushed Back, was released in 2013 and received much praise. It simply had that sound that a fresh, young band seems to own so charmingly. I was instantly hooked on their sound, so when their next release, A Place of Our Own, came out, I was absolutely ecstatic. And even more, I had tickets to see Have Mercy, Modern Baseball, and Taking Back Sunday at the Starland Ballroom just two short weeks after the album dropped—if there was ever evidence of a higher power up in the sky looking out for me, this was it.

I listened to the album from front to back for those next two weeks, and absolutely raged my face off when they played at Starland. A Place of Our Own is without a doubt a masterpiece of an album—especially for such a young band. The production style is still quite similar to their previous productions, with some slight hints of clarity, but without compromising the pure, raw sound that they exude so well.

The album’s two singles, “Howl,” and “Spacecrafts” were tracks that took me a little while to love, but after a few listens, I saw just why they were chosen to be the record’s singles. “Howl” is just a fun, catchy, upbeat track that explains the progression of a relationship (or metaphorically, a band, perchance??). The chorus has a smooth vibe that you hear and just want to dance to. “Spacecrafts” has a much different sound, which is typically a promising sign as far as pre-released singles go for a band’s new album. Maintaining consistency in talking about failed relationships and moving on, the song speaks quite directly to my old emo soul – in the best possible way.

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One of my personal favorite tracks off the album is “The Place You Love.” If you made it this far and are still interest in the band, please give this song a listen. From beginning to end, it tells a great story, without being overtly cliché or explicit in what exactly is going on. When lyrics leave a hint of mystery and are as obviously personal as they are in this track, it always makes for a song that will hit home harder than a generically written love song to which you could relate.

Another track that I was very impressed with is “Two Years.” While on the surface the track seems to be that classic, obligatory song about being on the road and missing out on being around some of the people you loved before your career as a band took off, “Two Years” just has a way of making you feel like it has to be more than that. One of lead vocalist Brian Swindle’s most epic performances on the album, it is definitely a track to give a listen. His raw passion is something that simply takes it from being a mediocre, generic song to being an incredible jam.

If you’re looking for a mellower hit, check out “Nails and Teeth in Pavement.” This track has slowly been creeping its way up to a spot as one of my favorites off the album, right next to “The Place You Love.” The line “If we stay, there’s nothing we can create” is haunting in so many ways and adds a level of complexity to the song lyrically that makes it incredible, in my opinion. One of the more ballad-y songs on the album, “Nails and Teeth in Pavement adds a nice layer to the record, and is one of the tracks that I think really helps to make the album stick out as not just good, but unquestionably great.

A few other tracks I would absolutely recommend listening to on the album include “Plastic Covered Furniture,” “Pete Rose and Babe Ruth,” and even the short introductory track “To Convey.” Overall, I was absolutely astounded with Have Mercy’s sophomore release, and really do believe that, with the sort of growth and uniqueness they’ve demonstrated on it, they have so much potential for the upcoming years. Have Mercy is currently on tour with Weatherbox, You, Me, and Everyone We Know, and Head North, and they will be performing all across the country this summer at Warped Tour (you will see me there, without a doubt). I would highly recommend giving them a chance, and supporting them by purchasing the album if you happen to fall in love the way I did!

Rating: 8.5