“Two years now and I’m alone again.
Close your eyes and count to ten and tell me,
How the hell you’ve been?”

~Two Years

Have Mercy, A Place Of Our Own

One of my favorite albums this fall is Have Mercy’s “A Place Of Our Own,” a follow-up to a brilliant first LP called “The Earth Pushed Back.” It’s been something of a record to get lost in.

I can’t get over what a good singer Brian Swindle is. His control is phenomenal, his scream is somehow elegant, his tone is sucker-punched and knife-twisting at the same time. His words are equally sharp and poetic, and I find myself singing these songs with great reverence to their structure. They’ve got this way of taking the strongest line and propping it up with screams and ascending chords and intricate rhythms, and the effect is absolutely gut-wrenching.  

“But what if I was the problem the whole time?
Well, I’d beg forgiveness and oblige.
The ground just opened wide and ate me whole.
Why am I so happy I could die?
There were no words to say ‘goodbye,’

the ground just opened wide and ate you whole.”

~Pete Rose and Babe Ruth

Have Mercy, A Place Of Our Own
Melodically, this band has proven they’ve gained some maturity – these are not static songs, and neither were the ones on the first record, but they’ve condensed them some. I think there’s just as much feel and passion on this as the last one (which made it so damn good) but the wisdom of restraint has arrived. I love the reliance on thick, heavy chords contrasted with quick-fingered melodies. I love how bridges and pre-choruses explode in thundering drums and settle into to a beat.There is such a recognition of movement and dynamics here. I love indie rock bands that aren’t afraid to be loud and pretty at the same time, that aren’t afraid to toy with sad chords in aggressive functions, and so I like a lot of emo music. But lately bands have been building on this strategy in so many ways, and Have Mercy is writing the rulebook on how do it without being maudlin, strange or juvenile. 
Initially with this record, I was apprehensive of something of seemingly formulaic structure after hearing the early singles. But buying this and giving it many repeated listens upon release proved that was just expertise and polish shining through. Everything I first heard when I got into this band earlier this year gripped me instantly and got me hooked. Hearing their latest has something of a deeper connection, it has given me a mark and a moment in the close of autumn 2014. This record is me sitting alone in my bedroom up too late, it’s driving aimlessly around the South Side on the last of the adventurous weekends, and wearing scarves to work. So much good music has come out this year and I had a lot of high hopes for many records, but this one, from a band relatively new to me, sneaked up on me as meaningful. We always anticipate the releases from bands we like will be memorable, important records, but we also never quite know if they’ll suit the scene. Sometimes, you listen and realize what suits you is something you didn’t expect at all.
“Soaking wet
And I bet this is the best night you’ve had in awhile.
Where we met
And I’ll let you call me ‘darling’ but you don’t mean it yet.

I was looking and you had dead eyes.
I could see everything.
You forgot the one rule:
Where we went to, I could tell you everything.
If you ever forget where, I will take you there.”

~The Place You Love
Have Mercy, A Place Of Our Own