Mercy Rule

God Protects Fools

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Every second of God Protects Fools sounds like an urgent newsflash from Mercy Rule's trampled heart. This is due in large part to Heidi Ore's desperate, breast-beating vocal delivery, but it helps that husband Jon Taylor's punk-inspired guitar keeps slashing into distorted, gorgeous melodies at nearly every turn. Opening anthem "My Mouth" seems to begin as loose rock & roll parts banging around in a tub. The bass is muddy, the cymbals too trebly, and a one-note guitar riff cries for companionship. But then Ore leads the suddenly unified band into the chorus with just one rise and fall of her voice, and channels like mad the rage and personal anguish of Mia Zapata and the Gits. "I Am...I Said" proves just as furious, with its finalistic chorus statement and double-tap snare, while "We Know" is a wistful rumination on rock band struggle until Ore screams "Why does it have to be me?" and you feel like buying all of Mercy Rule's merch just to make their Midwestern tour worth the grief. God Protects Fools can't always coast on intensity alone. "Summer" drifts towards the Toadies' less inspired side, while the lover's spat of "Pale" can't quite assemble its pounding drum fills and rambling guitar peels into an effective statement. Luckily, "Time of Day" channels the same he said/she said rap into the raucous alt rock statement. "Everybody's got a friend" Ore screams, her voice cracking, "Who's gone totally insane." Mercy Rule might be accused of being too zealous, of heaving too much brazen honesty into its exploding grain elevator of punk revivalist fury. But if that's the only mark against them, their heart is definitely in the right place.

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