The band's fifth album sees them still paying homage to rock's past glories.
Chris White 2007-07-05
After an unremarkable career to date as a no-frills garage rock group, Have Mercy sees New York’s The Mooney Suzuki turn down the amps a little in search of a more varied yet still robust sound.
The critical beating administered to fourth album Alive And Amplified prompted a split from record company Columbia, and vocalist Sammy James Junior wrote the songs for Have Mercy unsure of whether The Mooney Suzuki would record together again. The results, though displaying improved craftsmanship and some decent enough tunes, are still disappointingly predictable.
Around half the songs here are unashamed pastiches of the Rolling Stones at their late 60s/early 70s peak, which is not necessarily a bad thing if done well, as Primal Scream have consistently demonstrated. But while Bobby Gillespie and company often blend homage with innovation, The Mooney Suzuki just come across as a limp tribute act in comparison.
Other British artists also loom large on Have Mercy. The pleasant jangle of ‘'Ashes'’ could be by The Coral or The Zutons, and '‘Rock ‘N’ Roller Girl'’ achieves the unlikely feat of recalling both Suede and Gerry and the Pacemakers in the same song. ‘'First Comes Love'’, a hummable slice of power pop with a hint of The Jam in the chorus, is the best thing here, with insipid ballad, ‘'The Prime Of Life'’, and the lyrically infantile brass band stomp, ‘'Good Ol’ Alcohol'’, vying to be the worst.
Most bands have influences, but few flaunt them as brazenly as The Mooney Suzuki. Unfortunately, the four-piece are so consumed by the music of the past they seem to have forgotten the need to forge their own identity.