The Men

Mercy

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    6
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Mercy is the Men's third consecutive album with the same lineup, but as ever, the Brooklyn-based group never stays in the same place stylistically. The release continues in the eclectic mode of 2018's Drift, rather than the back-to-basics noise-punk of 2016's Devil Music. All seven songs are vastly different, making Mercy sound like it could be a compilation of tracks from separate albums released throughout a band's long career, but mostly dating from the '70s and '80s. Opener "Cool Water" is one of the band's purest country-rock laments, awash in steel guitars and harmony vocals. "Wading in Dirty Water" sounds like a ten-minute excerpt of a jam session which never begins or ends, fading in with glistening keyboards and a steadily trotting rhythm, then following its brief verses with a bounty of acid guitar soloing. "Children All Over the World" seems like a shot at '80s stadium rock, with a neon synth riff and hoarse vocals shouted with gusto, but it's not quite hook-filled enough to actually resemble a genuine radio single, particularly since it also contains a generous amount of extended guitar soloing. "Breeze" is the album's most compact, straightforward rock song, packing more energy into three minutes than the rest of the album combined. The album's sparse title track is genuinely haunting, particularly the line "I need mercy at the hour of my death." Ultimately, the outcome is similar to Drift: while the band's anything-goes spirit is admirable and their passion is unmistakable, they simply sound much better when they're rocking out, and the other songs are just not as interesting.

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