Have Mercy

The Love Life

Written by: PP on 14/11/2021 13:50:35

Have Mercy's debut album "The Earth Pushed Back" was an awe-inspiring record that seamlessly blended post-hardcore, indie rock and punk undertones together within a brilliant, emotionally distressed lyrical universe. It was a masterpiece and arguably the best record in 2013. Its follow-up "A Place Of Our Own" was a solid album even if it didn't have the same staying power as the debut, but already on 2017's "Make The Best Of It" it was evident that the band was in decline. Their final album "The Love Life" did nothing to change that perception, hence the news that the band is now officially defunct comes as no great surprise to this writer. It's also a release that passed by our radar back in 2019, but given the band's cult status within some circles, a posthumous dissection seems nevertheless in order.

On "The Love Life", the band all but waved goodbye to the scratchy, breaking vocals of Briand Swindle that characterized the signature Have Mercy sound on their debut album. Nuances of post-hardcore and punk disappeared for good in favour of a clean, slightly more cheerful indie rock sound, and not for the better. The charismatic edge and raw emotional outpours that once formed the signature portion of their sound are not there, resulting in decent, but in the long run, forgettable pieces like "Clair" and "40oz". Lacking in both the tormented lyricism and the depth-laden songwriting, they sound like your average indie rock band with an anonymous singer and nothing saying songs.

What happened to the emotional charge? "The Love Life" has none of it. Instead, it's full of bland songs that are well-produced and well-meaning but miserably fail in their potential. Listening to a track like "So Like You" is an exercise in futility: it's as if the band fully lost the understanding of what made them good in the first place. The lack of gravelly vocals, the instrumentals being an octave or two above where they should be, the soul-crushing emotional introspection having disappeared... what else is left? No wonder Have Mercy called it a day after "The Love Life", because where else is there to go after this one?


Download: 40oz, Clair, Heartbeat
For the fans of: The Dangerous Summer, Strange Vacation, The Jealous Sound
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.08.2019
Hopeless Records

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