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Review: 'Mercyland'
'No Feet On The Cowling'   

-  Label: 'Propeller Sound Recordings'
-  Genre: 'Eighties' -  Release Date: '7.11.23.'

Our Rating:
No Feet On The Cowling is the long forgotten and overlooked debut album By Mercyland from Athens Georgia, the album was originally recorded in 1989 and has been re-mixed and re-mastered by the bands most famous member David Barbe for this re-issue. David of course went on to be in Sugar, also becoming the producer of choice for Drive By Truckers. He was joined in Mercyland by Andrew Donaldson and Joel Suttles. Having not heard the original mix I can't say how much this version improves on the sound but reading that all the late 80's production tricks have been stripped out, certainly means this sounds like a great stripped back Pop Punk album well worth hearing.

This comes flying out the gates on Guessing Time Is Gone an urgent pop punk anthem with a riff that won't let go, as they try to figure out if the relationship is done or not, as the velveteen tambourine marks time.

Big Wind From East Jesus has that college rock urgency, as they get fried while wondering how to get peace of mind, while avoid the indoctrination that Big Wind is battering them with.

Chains are stretched between Thin White Rope and Green On Red as they try to deal with all the self-hate, as they try to free themselves from the shackles of life, as guitars fizz and the vocals go a good bit like John Easdale of Dramamrama.

King Clover spreads across the speakers as if they are afraid to slow down, as they get caught up in the abuse, as you clutch that luck rabbit foot, hoping to survive it all. Even as it slows a touch before revving back up this is a band in a terrible hurry.

Ives St. Cocklebur is a title that for me has a few meanings, either being about the infamous Ives Street record company offices, that handled Phil Collins and friends works, or St Ives in Cornwall with Cocklebur being local slang for something or other, as this frenzied blur of indie rock flies by I want to hit the replay button to get more of what's going on or going down on Ives Street.

Distant Line sees them as far from the finishing line as you could imagine, but if they keep sprinting along like this, they will make it across in no time at all. As the guitars battle it out.

Fall Of the City is almost hardcore speed punk as it flies by, we find out just why the city needs to fall as soon as possible.

Proceed With Discretion is like an invite to something you wouldn't normally be allowed into, will you be allowed to take part, should you even ask those questions, or do those things, the lyrics chime nicely with some millennial questioning of what is and isn't appropriate behavior, over the super spiky backing.

Gets My Soul To Vigor is a song of regret for the love you used to have, lost among the crunchy guitars and steady drumming as everything falls apart.

Rotten On The Vine almost feels like a reply or companion to John Cale's Dying On The Vine, although this is played at 100 mph as everything has gone wrong again.

All Your Fools Fall Down is a bit of a tongue twister lyrically, especially as it sounds like there is barely a moment to take a breath, as the bitter regrets at the end of one more argument unfold, among the shocked bass stuttering around looking for a way out.

The album closes with the blurred edges of White Cross full of urgency and pain, distorting reality at the edges, it also has the only slow breakdown on the album, as if they are bringing the listener into land, before it ups the pace back up, as they try to set you free from all the White Crosses.

Find out more at https://links.propellersoundrecordings.com/mercyland-nfotc

  author: simonovitch

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