Fra Lippo Lippi created the blueprint for the band they'd eventually become on Small Mercies. On this album, the Norwegian group's roots in gothic rock have yet to be severed, especially with the funereal percussion, grim basslines, and sinister vocals on "Barrier." Nevertheless, the melodic, atmospheric keyboards that linger throughout the record would later shape Fra Lippo Lippi's trademark piano-based new wave pop. In fact, the second track on the album, "A Small Mercy," is the genesis of one of Fra Lippo Lippi's future hits, "Everytime I See You." The songs on Small Mercies are moody and depressing, but they're appropriate for rainy days. Like Joy Division, Fra Lippo Lippi were able to crawl into life's bleakest recesses and exit with music that emitted an ominous beauty. On "The Treasure," mournful piano, sullen bass, and hypnotic drums illustrate the story of a crumbling relationship; it is stunningly gorgeous. The wintry "Some Things Never Change" and the picturesque instrumental "French Painter Dead" contribute to the record's somber elegance. If Ian Curtis of Joy Division hadn't hung himself, he would've recorded an album like Small Mercies. Mellow and relentlessly sad, it sounds oppressive in the light of day, but it glows in the dark.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton