Monday, August 25, 2008


"Mercy Arms? I hate those guys." I was asking a friend what they thought of the young Sydney band. They'd seen them support The Strokes in 2006 and apparently didn't think too much of them. It had something to do with the band acting like 'jerks' on stage with the bass player stagediving into a group of 13 year old girls who failed to catch him. "Oh." I'd replied. The thing is i'd heard a few demos on their myspace page and really liked them. Some months later I chance stumbled upon their Kept Low EP and on a whim forked out eleven dollars to buy it. I didn't regret it, there was something beautiful about it that was instantly captivating, but somewhere along the line I stopped listening to it.Time passed and with 2008 came a plethora of amazing debut records; Vampire Weekend, MGMT and The Teenagers etc were on everyones lips and ipods. I couldn't help but wonder whether people would still be listening to these bands in twenty or even two years time. I suppose it doesn't matter really, but It had been a little while since I'd heard a band that had really swept me off my feet that hadn't crashed and burned several months later.
At the right moment Mercy Arms released their debut, a grand and ambitious effort that sounds new and old at the same time without being overly pretencious. The same magic I remember from Kept Low is still there, only now it's more sparse, hypnotic and matured.Nothing about this record really screams 2008, there is a timeless quality to the production and atmosphere and songs like 'To me Now' and 'Firing Line' sound weirdly familiar, or at least have echoes of something beautiful you've heard before, long ago. Not suprising considering the band worked with Tony Cohen on this record, famous for his work with The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and the Dirty Three.
This album has the potential to endure beyond any current trend or scene, it has the same timeless feel you get when listening to other Australian greats like The Triffids or The Go-Betweens. Regardless of whether or not great things happen for Mercy Arms following this release, this record is definately one for the ages.

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