Often, we see a band struggle to definitively find their sound and stick with it. That is always a huge challenge for anyone who is trying to stand out in the music industry. For Have Mercy, they found their sound early on in their career and they are sticking with it. The emo outfit got a sound that worked well for them and ran with it, now they are back with their latest project. The release of “Make the Best of It” shows just how consistent the band can really be.
The Baltimore-based band Have Mercy has not been around for a long time. The band can be traced back to 2011. From then, they released an extended play, a few splits and two studio albums, “The Earth Pushed Back” and “A Place Of Our Own.” The group found solid footing within the pop-punk scene and are known for the emotional and deep ballads. Vocalist Brian Swindle’s scratchy voice gave the band a unique edge in their performance. Now, following the unexplained departure of the all original members besides Swindle, the band is putting out their third studio album “Make the Best of It.”
“Make the Best of It” is an 11-track record that clocks in at around 41 minutes in length. Stylistically, it is familiar to the point where it provides a sense of comfort. That said, it does not take many risks. As far as a Have Mercy record goes, it plays things safe. While this is certainly some of the strongest and more refined songs the band has put out, it is not that different from anything that came before. Right from the start listeners know exactly what they are listening to, some people will either enjoy it or be turned away.
Musically, this is just a cleaner and refined sound that we are used to from Have Mercy. The record starts us off with the track “Smoke and Lace,” which relies heavily on the riffs that stick with you long after listening to it. There are plenty of things to be admired when it comes to this record, from the more layered tracks like “Coexist” and “Drive” to the slower and methodical “Ghost” and “Good Christian Man.” Have Mercy on a technical standpoint cleaned up around the edges with this record. While it does come off as something that is more geared to be more airwaves friendly, there is still that edgy and punk side of their sound that long-time fans have come to love.
Lyrically, this is a record that is for those going through heartbreak without a doubt, as it takes on classic themes of a love that could never be, or a relationship that fell apart. When it comes to Swindle’s vocals and delivery and how he howls on some of the deeper and emotional parts of a track, listeners will find it easy to connect with tracks like “Baby Grand” and “Disagree.” Then the album moves into tracks like “Reaper,” which gets a lot darker and starts talking about killing a boyfriend. Listeners cannot help but get this feeling that this is some of the most emotional and moving stuff the band has written thus far. While it is hard to try and come up with new ways to write a heartbreak album, Have Mercy managed to do it in a way that is both appealing and catchy. Overall, this is some of their best song writing to date.
Should you listen to it?: Yes.
“Make the Best of It,” while it is not trying to be anything different, does a great job at pleasing longtime fans of Have Mercy. For people who have not had a chance to listen to this band, this is a great introduction purely because they are trying to nail down their sound with this record. For anyone who is going through a tough and emotional time, this record is easy to connect with and it is not difficult to come back time and time again. This is one of those records that is enjoyed best on a day when locked in your room and you are focused on its message.
Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CTV_Ace.