The Mercy Alliance – Some Kind Of Beautiful Story review

TMCHailing from Washington DC, melodic indie rock band The Mercy Alliance are due to release their upcoming album, Some Kind Of Beautiful Story, on September 9th in the US on Beverly Martel Music. The record features drummer Steve Bowman (ex Counting Crows), and holds musical nods to the likes of The Replacements and John Lennon. The band’s previous records boast stateside success including various radio play; you can check out the band’s current single below.

Lead track Washington (below) boasts clear and powerful vocals, which blend seamlessly with the instrumental to form a classic, controlled indie rock sound that is representative of the entire album. This calm opener with organ undertones, prominent in the close, forms a relaxed mood to suit the summer, with the bustle of musical backing creating an NYC-esque backdrop. Joe’s (Rathbone, frontman) vocals in the opening of Angel Of Mercy display the precise control over a minimalistic backing, the song which the album takes its title from. Although the vocals sound a little weak in parts, the instrumental dominance at these moments continues to flow the track along.

Heavier, electric chords set the tone for All For The Love Of You, which ease up over the chorus, ebbing down to R.E.M. style vocals melodically chanting the title line with the music simply providing a backbone to the track. The shortest off the album, Moving In Time layers the increasingly dead-pan vocals, drawing attention to the more intricate side of the sound in the instrumental. A slow fade out switches into the eclectic welcome to This Is How They Now, which evens out to form a track once again mellowed-out. The definite structure provided through the rise and fall of the instrumental, with the vocals altering accordingly.

I Can’t Do It holds a slower and softer introduction, with Joe’s clear vocals driving the track towards to the simplistic but powerful chorus that the track revolves around and is unique on the album in how infectious it is. With almost masked vocals, it’s easy to imagine that Save Me could be the sort of track suited to the soundtrack of an indie film, its simplicity being its key feature.

Penultimate Libertine takes on a more rugged edge, with the heavier chords and dead-pan vocals adding a rougher, staccato tone to the album. The gravelly hint to Joe’s voice makes this track as alluring as it is sharp, and whilst the track is a little repetitive in itself, it remains refreshing. The song fades out into closing Drifting, which does a tight job of restoring the previous controlled and melodic sound; there’s no better way to describe this track other than that it simply drifts along, and at almost five minutes, this finale forms the longest piece of the record.

With a sound that fits somewhere between Counting Crows, R.E.M. and Mick Jagger’s solo work, this melodic indie-rock album is confident and careful.

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