Tender Mercy

tenderm Man, this is some miserable shit. But as you well know, I have a particular soft spot for miserable shit, and so you won’t be at all surprised to hear that I really like this.

This five-song EP by Tender Mercy strongly, strongly reminds me of something too, but not something I can entirely put my finger on. Jay Farrar and Son Volt are in there somewhere, albeit in their more morose moments, and the EP as a whole reminds me of that whole Comes With a Smile-era sound, when I was getting into all sorts of tremendously downbeat Americana from the aforementioned Son Volt to Jason Molina, American Music Club, Piano Magic, Songs:Ohia and various others. I can’t pin down what this reminds me of, but it’s definitely something in that kind of ballpark.

The tunes themselves roll into one a bit, and the melodies can be more than a little familiar from one song to the next, but whilst that can make the the EP sound a little like one big cloud of doom, it also perhaps chimes with the fact that the title of it, As Someone Else You Embrace the Moment in Us, is actually just a list of all the song titles strung together to make a single sentence.

Musically, you get a barely plucked guitar, and vocals which are so slow as to feel like they’re grinding to a halt half the time, the emphasis syllables given pathos and emphasis with warm, solitary notes on the piano. It could do with a bit of melodic variation from time to time, sure, but this is a pretty gorgeous listen nevertheless, and perfect for cold, dark Winter evenings.