2008 Album Review :: Mercy Arms ‘Mercy Arms’
August 24th 2013
On August 29, FBi hits double digits. To celebrate, the Flog is taking a trip down memory lane: we’re counting down 10 years of albums in 10 days. In 2008, Nikki Brogan had a car crash…
I’ve cried a fair few times listening to songs from Mercy Arms’ debut album.
Once was during my very first car crash, and the others… well, they were mostly a result of drinking far too much and paying for it the following day.
My very first memory replays itself in slow motion, sound-tracked by the heartbreaking first single, Half Right. Navigating Sydney’s western suburbs along the M4 in weekday peak hour traffic, I was up early and doing the daily grind. Ignoring bigger picture issues like what I should actually do with my life, I was on my way to a job that I wasn’t at all keen on, to waste eight hours of my day doing things I was even less keen on.
Alex Pye’s dulcet tones were keeping me company and Half Right was definitely blaring from my car radio at the time. In hindsight, I’m not entirely sure if I started crying at the song’s sentiment, licking unhealed wounds caused by a failed teen-relationship that I thought would last forever. Or maybe it was just the shock of a speeding vehicle rear-ending my trusty little Nissan.
Mercy Arms were Thom Moore, Kirin J Callinan, Ash Moss and Julian Sudek AKA four dudes who made damn good music in Sydney between 2005 and 2009ish. The self-titled record of 2008 was their only full-length album, eventually released between label mishaps, band beefs and some pretty stellar live shows. Sadly, like many great bands before them, Mercy Arms split due to creative differences.
From the atmospheric Down Here, So Long to the more upbeat, rockabilly-influenced Shine A Light, Mercy Arms made just enough noise to appreciate on a lazy Sunday arvo. Quickly becoming the theme music of my comedowns from nights-before spent in sweaty clubs like 77, I soon realized how much I adored this album. Hearing an attractive male with a guitar articulate my own feelings far more coherently than I ever could, not only put a lump in my throat – but rendered me unable to articulate anything at all.
Five years have passed and I still give Mercy Arms a bit of a listen from time to time (you guessed it, usually hungover). My car was never quite the same after the crash and ended up retiring where dreams and automobiles rest in pieces. I like to think that guitarist Kirin J Callinan, after ditching the flamboyant Mercy Arms costumes for partial-nudity and a solo-career, wrote Scraps as an homage to my very first car and my very first memory of Mercy Arms.
“… Now you’re compacted with the scraps of my Nissan, that I’m missin’…”