by Thomas Redding
Have Mercy is a progressive rock band from Baltimore, Maryland that gained most of their popularity from their intricate and powerful lyrics. Lead vocalist Brian Swindle normally dives into deep and emotional subjects, including love, longing, heartbreak and self-discovery. These subjects build a connection between the band and their listeners.
Most listeners range from adolescents to those in their early twenties, who are experiencing the same situations and share the same emotions as the lyrics express. The band recently released a new single titled “Coexist,” off their upcoming album, titled “Make The Best Of It,” to be released April 21. The single has flashier qualities that differ from the typical sound of the band both lyrically and instrumentally.
The band is normally known for Swindle’s raspy voice, alternating between softer parts and aggressive, thicker yelling, while the instruments normally give off a soft and sweet rock vibe.
However, in the new single, Swindle takes the song from a more melodic side, and refrains from stretching the limits of his vocals, while keeping the raspy tone. Swindle shows his refrain in the verses, but raises his voice as he breaks into the chorus. One can speculate that this is done to emphasize the lyrical content of the chorus, which addresses that, as you re-encounter people of your past, they are likely to have changed, just as you have. Instrumentally, there are some distinguishable differences. The instrumentation is a lot more polished than their previous releases. It debuts a louder, more aggressive sound for the band.
The distinctive change has caused some mixed feelings from fans. Some listeners enjoy a rugged song because it reiterates back into the lyrical content. Additionally, the new track does not fit well with the rest of their discography, which, on the other hand, brings interest to fans and some anticipation in what’s to come for the band. They may seem to be straying from their creepier sounding songs, and headed into a catchier album that consists of more pop qualities. However, the difference between the previous and present sounds, shows just how versatile and talented the members of Have Mercy are.
Have Mercy has been together and touring for about six years. They have released two split EPs with other bands, alongside an EP and two full-length albums. They’ve come to master the emo-rock sound as well as gather an audience of loyal listeners. The new single blends the melodic content from their first EP while tweaking, yet staying true to the rock, instrumental sound of their previous album from 2015.
Their past releases, however, were recorded with a different mindset than this upcoming album. Their first EP and album were completely self-recorded; the band was not signed to a record label, had no producer and was not pressured by time constraints. They gained some popularity from those first releases, and received the attention of Hopeless Records. They were later signed to Hopeless in summer of 2014, and given the opportunity to make another album, called “A Place of Our Own.”
Many bands struggle with a debut album on a record label, due to the extraneous amounts of pressure to be efficient in album making and to have the album sell, which can often stunt natural flow of ideas and production. Have Mercy had to push out an album within about two months, and it showed in the content. The album is definitely good, but listeners can tell, there are some filler tracks.
This brings hope that there will be much more to expect in the upcoming album, which they have had over two years to work on. This has given them some artistic freedom, which can be heard in their new single, which I would promptly rate a solid 7/10. This elongated period has also allowed them to naturally mature and find their unique sound and style. Have Mercy shows their listeners there is still a lot left to be heard from them.