January 27, 2022

Ours - Mercy (Dancing For The Death of An Imaginary Enemy) (2008)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: 88697 17761 2

© 2008 American Recordings
For their third full-length and American Records debut, MERCY…(DANCING FOR THE DEATH OF AN IMAGINARY ENEMY), New Jersey rock group Ours relocated to L.A. and tapped Rick Rubin as producer. With guitarist Static delivering Edge-like guitar work and Jimmy Gnecco switching between Bono-esque howls and ecstatic falsettos, Ours clearly boned up on U2's signature sounds and recast themselves as a heavier version of the Irish quartet. The transition works, though, as MERCY delivers knockout after knockout of barbed, tension-and-release alt-rock. From the dramatic opening title track to the expansive closer "Get Up," the production (by Rick Rubin, no less) is the unsung hero of this set, providing some of the biggest standouts in the lengthy Ours catalog, polishing Gnecco's impassioned songwriting with sonic depth and flourish. The galloping "The Worst Things Beautiful" is a guitar-driven rush that crashes down on the cacaphonous "Black," a desperate plea that would fit nicely on the tortured Distorted Lullabies. Meanwhile, the mariachi-meets-Radiohead "Murder" rides a skittering beat as wild handclaps and blaring horns amplify the tension to unbearable levels through a storm of Gnecco's howls. For quieter moments, the tender "Lost," wounded "God Only Wants You," and string-washed "Ran Away to Tell the World" provide vulnerable moments of beauty. Above all, the standout track "Willing" is the radio hit that never was, a catchy, melodic, and pressing anthem that serves as yet another reminder that Gnecco's decades of work are criminally underappreciated. MERCY is well worth a listen, the cap on Ours' initial 2000s run that soon gave way to a decade of underground obscurity that wouldn't be creatively matched until 2021's self-titled comeback.

tags: ours, mercy dancing for the death of an imaginary enemy, 2008, flac,

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