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Album Review: Mercy Music's 'What You Stand To Lose' is the pop rock album of the summer

Summer is the perfect time to be hanging out with your friends, cruising through the city with the windows down and blasting music at an ear-damaging level. Mercy Music’s new album, “What You Stand To Lose” (Double Helix Records/SBÄM Records), is an exceptional example of this type of vibe if you’re looking for a high-energy, pop-rock sound for your summer playlist.

The album begins with the record’s second single, “Suddenly” (its music video can be found here), a groovy punk rock track with fast drums and twangy guitar riffs. It's a fast-paced, upbeat song that does a great job of kicking off the record and showcasing the musical repertoire that can be found throughout the album.

The next track, “Love You/Need You,” (music video) is similar to the opening track with its fast-paced guitar and drums, but there is an old-school, early 2000’s vibe to it. The lyrics also seem to take a more depressing turn as Mercy Music vocalist Brendan Scholz sings about coming to terms with heartbreak. 

When speaking about the lyrical content of “Love You/Need You,” Scholz says, “This song is about coming to terms with the fact that the person you’re in love with is no longer in love with you.”

The listener can find this theme throughout “What You Stand To Lose” as the album is a reflection of the personal changes Scholz went through between the release of their 2020 album, “Nothing in the Dark,” and the writing of this record. 

Scholz says, “What You Stand To Lose is about coming face to face with one of your worst fears, learning from the experience, and hoping you come out the other side a better person.” It’s a morose, yet highly relatable feeling that listeners can connect with as they enjoy the album.

Circling back to the early 2000s vibes, the next few tracks hone in on this feeling in tracks like “REAL,” “Undone” and “Watch Me Drown.” With classic pop punk guitar slides, drummer Rye Martin’s drilling drums and bassist Jarred Cooper’s bouncing bass lines, these songs sound like a mix between Relient K and Plain White T’s. However, the main influences behind this album’s sound are punk bands like Descendents and Jawbreaker.

This sound doesn’t come out of nowhere, as legendary producer Bill Stevenson, who worked with punk bands such as Descendents, Black Flag and All, helped produce this record. His stroke of genius is plastered all over this record and it is tied together masterfully by mixing engineer Jason Livermore. Livermore has worked with old-school punk bands such as Rise Against, Descendants and Propagandhi. Although the album leans more towards the pop side of pop punk, the punk aspect is still alive through the inner workings of Stevenson and Livermore.

The next three tracks on the album, “Found Out I’m Useless” -- the next single to be released on June 2 -- “What’s the Use” and “Total Nightmare,” bring out more of the “punk” in pop punk as they bring out chugging, distorted guitar riffs, rumbling yet simplistic drums and drilling bass lines. Although these tracks are more rock, the pop aspect is brought through the instrument’s bright tone and fast pace.

Scholz’s vocal melodies also bring out the pop aspect as they are extremely catchy and fit well with the rest of the instrumentation. However, there are a few spots on the record where they seem a little off during the beginning of tracks like “Fine” and “What’s The Use,” but he brings it back up to speed when it gets to the chorus.

The record closes with a simplistic acoustic song titled “Waiting to Begin.” It’s the slowest track off the album and showcases the emotion and heartbreak of the lyrics through its instrumentation and vocals. The instrumentals are simple with their steady drum beat, acoustic guitar and bass, but they sound quite muted and far away. The vocals are at the forefront as Scholz sings the lyrics: “Bleed me out and draw me in / I’m waiting, waiting to begin.”

Overall, Mercy Music’s “What You Stand To Lose” is an exceptional pop-rock record that one can blast all summer long. The first two singles of the album, “Love You/Need You” and “Suddenly,” have been released and are free to stream now on all streaming platforms. Its third single, “Found Out I’m Useless” is set to release this June 2, so make sure to go check it out!

The entirety of “What You Stand To Lose” is set to release on June 30 via Double Helix Records/SBÄM Records. Make sure to stay up to date on all the band’s social media platforms and their website.

Rating: 4/5


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