Have Mercy has a new record. The new album, Make the Best of It confronts reality with tender grit and strained pride. It shows that they are a group willing to reveal their own harsh, raw, and broken experiences. Through this, they are able to gain our empathy without ever pleading for it. Hitting the road with Real Friends, Tiny Moving Parts, Broadside, and Nothing,Nowhere. this spring, they have a story to tell and a sound to communicate. I anticipate it will be well received by old fans and new listeners alike.
Have Mercy is a Baltimore-based band signed to Hopeless Records. Growing up in the same city as the group, I watched countless bands take that same journey, but I notice a difference with Have Mercy. They have not sacrificed their grit or pandered to trends while developing their sound on Hopeless. Instead, Make the Best of It maintains a genuine tension and sentiment that sets Have Mercy apart in the punk-pop genre.
“Smoke And Lace” opens the record, like a metaphor for their approach to music. They play with the dichotomy between edge and tenderness like the difference between smoke and lace. The record does not just sound emotional. It was not written with the intent of feigning feeling to sell records. Instead, Have Mercy entrusts the audience with their secrets and stories and implores them to find common ground. As the record moves along to “Drive,” we are not just told a story of a literal drive. We are also shown the sonic drive that carries their music and the symbolic drive that carries their faith along despite stress and struggle.
“Coexist” was one of the first two singles from the album. The video symbolizes the animalism of human release. The feeling of being hunted is like a feeling of tension in life – being shot, a bleeding rejection of that restraint, a reactive moment of passionate feeling. There is something so honest and relatable in just wanting to know and experience love, life, and even pain honestly.
“Baby Grand” was also released as a single, but without a video. The honest emotion in their lyrics and delivery is more real than other approaches on Hopeless Records have been. Scratchy throated pleading balances with ultra-relatable singalong elements. They are reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday or Brand New, but more modern. They express their urge to struggle but not let go, pleading “give me one more night.” They have a story and sound that often resonates with young audiences but does not exclusively apply to them. We all still feel the same pressures of our youth at times.
“Begging For Bones” faces the familiarity of struggle. You can hear that when they sing about having been through things that they are connected to a visceral tale. Perhaps it is the mentality of growing up in Baltimore – the complicated experience of big city loneliness, harsh streets, and still the escape-less feel of a small town. They are less pop than previous acts to come from the city and illustrate grit in even the softest feelings.
The record carries along thematically with emotional guitars in “Reaper” and shadowy, quiet nostalgia in “Ghost.” The build into “Disagree” and “American Bliss” exemplifies pride and self-worth built until finally faint hope is found.
“Good Christian Man” is the standout track on Make the Best of It. The tender melody and breathless softness lends an indie sentimentality to the track, but their seemingly small vocals also have a rough passion. Guitars and vocals rise with the track into brutal honesty and strident melodies. The video confronts doubt and rejection head on, breaking away from the chains of expectation.
“You Made Me” ends the record with a loneliness but not a hopelessness. Have Mercy explores the human condition in a way both brutal and inviting. They are sure to stand out on their tour with Real Friends this spring and summer and I believe they will not be defined by their label or hometown. We can only hope that they continue to inject as much personality and honesty into their music as they have on ‘Make the Best of It.’ Purchase your copy today and let us know how it makes you feel.
To purchase the new album, click here. Have Mercy will be hitting the road with Real Friends, Tiny Moving Parts, Broadside, and Nothing,Nowhere. this spring. For a full list of dates plus ticket information, click here!
‘Make The Best Of It’ Tracklisting: