Baltimore’s fledgling indie rock and emo foursome Have Mercy have managed to compose and record one of the year’s finest collections of songs in the way of their debut long-player on Topshelf Records, The Earth Pushed Back. This is the sort of album that will appeal to the indie rock, post-hardcore, and emo sets equally. Plenty of punks will find themselves stoked about these songs, too. Quite simply, this LP has something for almost everyone.
When I listen to The Earth Pushed Back, it brings to mind the kind of exceptional fringe records that alternative music enthusiasts ate up during the indie and emo surge from the early‘90s to the middle 2000s, next to such scene greats as Cursive, Braid, Mineral, Piebald, The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids, Sunny Day Real Estate, Taking Back Sunday, and Further Seems Forever. In that respect, The Earth Pushed Back is a brave new effort by a fairly new presence in the scene. And they should be saluted for it.
As far as Have Mercy’s sound, it can be likened to a number of other such bands, but they also have something very much their own here. All in all, it is a rather poignant sound, as personal as music can get, with dirty yet sparkling guitar, tight drumming, quality low-end support, and vocals which trade between movingly tender singing and raspy emotive half-screams. All of the tracks on this record are well-conceived compositions, seamlessly combining indie rock, post-hardcore and emo, and maintaining a perfect balance between all three; a dynamic that has served them well thus far and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
Have Mercy’s The Earth Pushed Back has in fact received plenty of favorable press already, and by such notable outlets as Punknews, AbsolutePunk, and Alternative Press. Bryne at Punknews suggested that Have Mercy’s album “…sounds like what would happen if Jimmy Eat World and Small Brown Bike formed a megaband.” I can’t help but agree to a point. AbsolutePunk said, “Have Mercy’s deeply personal album The Earth Pushed Back is a masterpiece.” Along with an eight out of ten rating, LouderNow stated, “On The Earth Pushed Back, Have Mercy deliver a masterclass, proving that you don’t have to forego proper structure and effective songwriting to convey emotion...this is a truly golden album and one that it’d be almost criminal to overlook.” On this last I agree wholeheartedly. And, press-wise, that’s about as good as it gets, especially for a debut album by a band that’s only been around for a few years.
The Earth Pushed Back is really that something extraordinary that we discerning music listeners find ourselves in utter appreciation of, with the superb song structures and incredible lyrics and full-of-feeling vocals. Really, I can’t say enough good things about this release; it’s that good. I mean, it’s nothing new…the overall sound, that is. It’s an old formula, this, but one that is done here in a truly remarkable way. And I can’t wait to see how they follow this album up.