Mercy Mercedes – Casio Rodeo EP
Release Date: February 6, 2008
Record Label: Unsigned
Yes, we know - their name is similar to Hey Mercedes. Get over it (and learn to read a little more carefully!). But hey, if a few of you have clicked over here by accident, why not expand your horizons and satisfy your inner pop-rock fan? Because, while bearing absolutely no sonic resemblance whatsoever to Bob Nanna’s much-adored brainchild, Mercy Mercedes offers up plenty of reasons to like and love them for what they are – a dance-spiked brand of pop-punk that just makes you want to smile.
As a whole, if you were going to describe Casio Rodeo in a single word, it would be “catchy.” Though they have not been a band for but a few years, the guys in Mercy Mercedes certainly have a mature grasp on how to write incredibly infectious pop tunes. From the urgent acoustic strums and sweet vocal sounds of “Here We Are,” it is easy to see that fans of good, old-fashioned, windows-down pop-punk will feel right at home with this EP. As the song then swells and transforms into an all-out sing-along anthem, the notion is only driven home further. Instead of tapering off after its opener, Casio Rodeo then only gets stronger with the brilliant synth-driven sugar of “Shiver Me Timbers” – likely the catchiest song of the bunch. Centered around an absolutely radiant hook and some rather catchy riffs, the tune is an undeniable home run, and could easily be imagined making a big splash on assorted teenage iPods or mainstream radio. The same can be said for the bouncy, toe-tapping “The Perfect Scene” – a straight-up pop cut that is again far beyond what Mercy Mercedes’ contemporaries are putting out. Just when you think the band might be out of haymakers, “Dr. Huxtable” follows right after with the kind of massive anthem that defines kids’ summers. It’s not easy to describe beyond that, but it is really just the kid of whimsical, innocent tune you can play over again without getting sick of it. It bears mentioning that “Get It Darlin’” and “Revolution” are slightly less remarkable, but not at all unlistenable. They do, however, seem to be the lesser tracks in the presence of their excellent brethren, and will likely be less favored than the other gems on the EP.
In the end, it is quite plain to see that Mercy Mercedes is not really doing anything new. But keeping the old adage in mind, they certainly strive to do it better. Vocalist Nate Smith sounds like a perfect blend of Cartel’s Will Pugh and The Higher’s Seth Trotter. He sings high enough, but never annoyingly so, and is not excessively nasally as such singers can be. The production on the EP is clean but still allows a fair amount of rock edge to come forward in the songs, allowing them to avoid the overly-saccharine-sweet issues that plague similar acts (Hellogoodbye, anyone?). Lyrically, the band could certainly look to progress and take on some more substantial themes, but the words still match the music, and the songs do still maintain an almost childlike charm – mainly due to Smith’s conviction in his delivery. And yes, I know it is trite and contrived to say a band “will be huge,” but if Mercy Mercedes is not a breakout success in the next year, I would be downright shocked. This band and this EP are incredibly solid, and deserve to be checked out by everyone looking to find a little summertime music here in the dead of winter.
Steve thanks for this review. I'm glad you love it. These are amazing guys, great people, and fantastic live if you've never had the pleasure. You can't help but move. Your body wont let you stand still during one of their shows. They steal the show from any national headliner they play with including yes Cartel. And yes I'm biased. So what.
I wrote a review of the band after they played in New York City. I've seen them twice and they blow me away every time. They scream polished, major label maturity and this review is dead-on. I too would be utterly shocked if they don't do anything huge in the next few months.
Great review, Steve. Me and my band love these guys to death and we're so excited that they're about to break and hit the big time. You won't find a nicer, more down-to-earth set of guys around. Everybody jump on the bandwagon now!