It is hard to know if the X EP is the summing up of a chapter before the opening of a new one, a punch at any remaining attention yet to be placed their way, or merely the ticking over of things in celebration of their ten years together until the world rights itself. Actually it fits all three but whatever the spark the release is one essential encounter with The Mercy Kills. The EP consists of seven songs hand-picked by the Australian rockers from their previous releases, each re-mastered and representing the strengths and addictiveness of the band’s music to date and together providing the kind of spirit rousing, rebellious pick me up we all need in these oppressive times.
Melbourne hailing, The Mercy Kills emerged in 2009 and ever since the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Mark E, bassist/vocalist Jen X Costello, guitarist/vocalist Nathalie Gellé, and drummer Josh Black have been an explosive incitement with their blend of punk, sleaze and hard rock. X is a collection of stirring signposts from across their raucous journey so far, each leaving a potent stamping of ears and attention, and now making for a fresh and welcome defiance fuelled rebel rousing.
Alone sets things off, the track immediately prowling the listener as riffs chug within ears, that sizing up soon becoming more intense as vocals join the portentous rhythms driving its intent. Even so, the song quickly proves itself one virulently infectious trespass; its punk spite and dirt clad rock ‘n’ roll breeding a welcome aggressor with attitude which is in no means tempered by the harmonic tones of Costello and Gellé alongside Mark E’s open threat.
It is no surprise that the outstanding track was included in the band’s choice or the following Fall which is still our favourite moment with the quartet. From its opening sonic nagging to its pugnacious groove and swinging riffs not forgetting the just as truculently animated beats of Black, the track is established manna to ears and instincts here, the inherent confrontation in vocals aligning hungrily with Costello’s post punk nurtured bass stalking and the grungier punk breath the track shares.
The rhythmic prowess of the band is just as striking and manipulative within the following Like You, the track a more pop friendly offering which still snarls and bites the hand of eagerness for its catchiness at every twist and turn. The band’s sound has always embraced a web of flavours and styles, something no better epitomised within this tapestry of intrigue and sound or in next up Blackout which lures ears with an old school punk tempting before bringing filth rubbed hard rock enterprise to an incitement which is akin to a mix of Sex Pistols, The Saints and The Senton Bombs.
Rain is more of a sleaze punk and classic rock nurtured confrontation, its breath irritable and touch feral if controlled and yet again the melodic allure in its lining is as rich and compelling as its fractiousness. It is a heavy and voracious encounter which again more stalks the senses than abuses them but leaves a certain appetite for more, something Say You Do equally sparks. Again there is a threat and drama to its hooks and untamed swing, rhythms almost spiteful in their addictive stroll, it all echoed in the breath and heart sprung by vocals.
The release is completed by Save and its magnetic croon within a barbarously toned body of sound and enterprise. In the past we have found that some of the band’s songs have instantly invaded and enslaved while others have worked away over time to find the same allegiance, the EP closer belongs to the latter as it made its way to becoming another firm pleasure.
It is a fine end to a collection of songs which may have missed some of your personal favourites but cannot be denied as a prime and irresistible representation of The Mercy Kills acclaim soaked adventure so far for fans and newcomers alike.
The X EP is out now via Golden Robot Records; available across most stores.
Pete RingMaster 05/10/2020