Josh Rheault and Sammy Dent, the guys comprising Mercies, have channeled one of those releases that engages within a few bars; immediately feeling like something special. Something important. Something to keep around, something to tell your best friends about.
Is Three Thousand Days something groundbreaking? Considering the widely accessible pool of art, references, and equipment available to a vast sea of musicians, that last consideration’s a toughie. In most cases, one ends up moving the stakes down a notch or two, preferring to be responsible for deciding if it’s a best-of-the-year contender.
Mercies is all of the above – except, maybe, groundbreaking… yet (since Fleet Foxes, the Dears, early Bowie, and a number of others have also manifested music this seminal and dynamic). However, the band stands out immediately, per its ability to take elements that, when parsed, could be said to be part of so many “Indie” sounds, and making them feel new; compelling.
On “Animals,” before and after impassioned but perfectly restrained (as in knowing when and how to stop) rounds of vocals, there are light trickles of piano notes; the kind of piano notes that make me love the piano. There are poignant narratives that make me wonder what happened in the songwriter’s life, that he should make these sounds that tell me someone else knows how it feels to hear a friend’s committed suicide, or another species of birds has dropped off the map. Or, as on “Tortured Souls,” when someone else knows a soul that seems to be disappearing down the wrong path. And then there’s just the right, light touch to tell me (without saying it outright) that there’s still hope in this world. Or the riveting, rock-loving touch (“In My Mind“) that says we shouldn’t give up too easily.
I’m pretty confident in opining that Mercies aren’t just around for the sake of being a band. I rather doubt Dent and Rheault think much about money, or “making it big,” although, like most artists, they appreciate an ample and understanding audience (along with the scene they’ve already attracted to the barn in Suffield, Connecticut that they renovated into an amazing creative/recording space). Once in a while, music this free of pretense, artifice, and in-crowdishness lopes along. That it exists in the service of essentially truthful, beautiful expression, in the service of something called art? That’s just part of what makes Three Thousand Days special.
Post by Mary Leary