A horrible hack

Hey Mercedes


Year Released: 2000
Format: LP
Label: Polyvinyl
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
Did they label this wrong? This is a new Braid record! To all extents and purposes anyway.

If you’ve been living under a rock, then you won’t know that Hey Mercedes is basically Braid minus Chris Broach. They’ve got in a new guitarist to replace Chris, Bob sings everything, and the band sounds EXACTLY like late Braid did. And seeing as I absolutely adored Braid (Bob Nanna is my hero) there was never going to be any chance that I wouldn’t like this.

So basically this is 4 tracks of superlative indie rock. Forget that lame-assed emo tag, doesn’t apply any more. Everything is moderately fast, poppy, bouncy, and keyed by the Bob vocals, that essential ingredient that takes Braid over the edge. Because musically they aren’t super different from everyone else, they just do that little bit extra which makes them so awesome. “Bells” has a monster of a catchy chorus, the dual guitars play off each other but without the over-complex time changes that Braid once exhibited. The music is perfectly produced for their sound, everything recorded at the right level and sounding bang on. “St. James St” is the most Braid-esque of the 4 tracks. This is a riotous song of nitro-bounce powered by Damon Atkinson’s fun-fun drumming. You have to watch this guy drum if you never have, I never seen anyone smile so much and the simple beat he keeps here is just so uplifting whilst the repetitive guitars and pacey tune make me dance around the room like a very silly looking boy. If this had been on ‘Frame and Canvas’ it would be one of the best songs on that record. For real.

The two other songs are equally wonderful, “the House Shook” kicks in with chuggy rock riffs and then bounces off into the distance. Probably my least fave of the songs here, but still fine! Things are rounded out with “Stay Six” bringing the rock once more, replete with some wonderful lyrics plus that oh-so-perfect guitar sound and Bob’s voice soothing my numb brain. A song I could listen to over and over. The way this song ends is just, well, fantastic.

This record is great, I really can not wait for the LP and Braid, I mean Hey Mercedes have just made a complete mockery of the tedious emo rock scene they were once the banner wavers for with 4 simple songs of genius calibre indie rock. This one won’t be leaving the stereo any time soon. Get it on 12” because it is bigger.

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