"All Killer, No Filler."
That's how Have Mercy
describes the tracks on their new record, Make The Best Of It,
and based on their recent stripped-down performance at the Baeble Office, it's an accurate description. If this acoustic session is your introduction to the rising alternative rockers, let it stand as proof that Have Mercy's music, behind the distortion and high-intensity, are emotionally resonant confessionals that are understandably easy to connect with. Take the first track they played for us, titled "Ghost." It's a powerful song that's not only about being haunted by the memories of a former lover, but an unwillingness to let yourself become detached from them ("Can you haunt these walls/ and be my ghost/ I feel you in these walls, attached to me/ I'll be your host"). Like all of the songs they played for us, it's openly written and beautifully performed.
In between the performances, the band got candid with us about their songwriting process and perfectionism. In fact, they even revealed that they wrote most of the songs on the record acoustically before translating them over to the full band setup. It's no wonder, then, why these tracks sound as gorgeous as they do when they're minimized to just two guitars and one voice. Brian Swindle even admitted that it was a sudden change of pace for them to quiet the songs down to their original states (on the record, "Ghost" was originally going to be just guitar and vocals), saying, "We've been on the road for four weeks, and I've been yelling everything. When we went in today, I was like ‘oh no, I don't know how to sing it!'" Well, they clearly were able to make the transition effortlessly, because these songs simply sound fantastic when played acoustically.
There's a lot to like about Have Mercy. They're a talented band that writes great melodies and open, emotional stories to go along with them. All of that shines through in this acoustic session, and it's especially interesting to dive into their songwriting process (plus, there are high fives!)