Subscribe to SoundAffects
email list:

Follow SoundAffects1 on Twitter



CD Reviews: Mercury

Mercury: Mercury
May 2003
By: Linda Spielman

album cover of Mercury's self-titled album

As Funk and Wagnalls indicates, in ancient Roman mythology Mercury was the messenger of the gods. The message that was brought to me with the band Mercury is this: don't judge a local book by its cover. I guess it's safe to say I have been out of the loop of just how much the local music scene has changed from my college days (which, believe it or not, wasn't all that long ago). Do you know those little labels on some CD's that warn of explicit material? Well, there should be a label on this CD simply stating: Listener will really like this CD, buy it!

Like many bands formed in college, Mercury's inception happened in 1998 on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The band originally began as an acoustic duo of Justin Morris on vocals and Armando Camillo on guitar. Eric Gadrix later joined on bass/vocals with Adam Sivitz rounding out the rhythm section on drums. Dubbed as one of the hardest working rock bands in Pittsburgh, Mercury has created a fan base, cemented a regular slot at Nick's Fat City and was ready to release their first full length CD in late 2002 without much press or radio airplay. While the music industry has the Grammy Awards, in Pittsburgh we pay homage to the winners of the Graffiti Rock Challenge. And the guys in Mercury can very proudly say they have walked away with that honor as the winners of the 2001 competition, amongst receiving other accolades. With constant gigs around the regional Pittsburgh area over the last few years, a strong rapidly increasing local fan base and acknowledgment from fellow local musicians, Mercury was well on their way to releasing their first CD.

With the help of Sean McDonald of The Clarks and Grapevine fame, the band and their producer embarked on one of the most professionally sounding local recordings I have ever heard. The self-titled CD, released in Fall 2002, isn't the typical in-your- face rock record. Don't get me wrong, it has all the elements and energy of a rock record, but the band's use in layering of sounds is what makes it such a fun and interesting listen. I am pleased to say that this album is unique and refreshing from start to finish. One recurring element found in each song is the way the band chooses to make the bridge of each track stand alone in its own way. For the listener, it is a real treat to have something jump out at you within a song that is so far removed from what has been going on musically during the song itself. Superhero has classic melody driven content with all the guts of a rock track. One of the strongest tracks is Can We Breathe. The dynamics of the drums, guitar and strong backing vocals show just how powerful and strong Mercury is on all musical fronts. I hate to draw comparisons to other bands, but if I were to compare Mercury's sound, I would say they are a more melodic, guitar-powered version of Fuel.

As much as I am recommending this CD to everyone, Mercury's live performance equals if not surpasses the energy of their album. Having recently caught them at one of their local haunts, Nick's Fat City, it is easy to see why they are considered one of the hardest working bands in Pittsburgh. Their sound and live sets are of equal caliber as the CD and most importantly, the crowd obviously has fun at the shows. If I were a betting woman or had a crystal ball, I would say it is just a matter of time before some major label snatches this band from our local scene and lets the rest of the world hear for themselves what the guys in Mercury have worked so hard for these past few years: to create great music. As Morris explains, "Regardless of how big or small you are, it's what you do with the time you're given."