Creeping up behind us like a stalker in the shadows of the night, it’s a little difficult to tell whether the synthesizer we first hear in the opening bars of “These Things” is friend or foe, but as the song presses on, Hasten Mercy makes it clear that we have nothing to fear. It’s our singer who is feeling the pressure of the weighty synth and the lyrical framework it provides him in this setting, but while there’s no shortage of tension in the air behind him, “These Things” unfolds much more like a track meant to release our angst as opposed to bottling it up.
The vocal has neither a bassline nor a consistent drumbeat to get behind in this track; there is nowhere but the center of the mix for it to dominate, and without ascending beyond a soft, melodic singing voice, it manages to tie even the most jagged components of the song together with perfectly uneven ribbonry. The harmony is filled with pain, but it presents too smooth a finish for us to ignore the fabric of its sentiments. Whether meant to embody the spirit of the lyrics or not, the music is as firm and gripping as any line of poetry ever would be in “These Things,” if not stronger.
Hasten Mercy’s moniker is brand new – so much so that it feels like the paint is yet to dry – but what’s given up in this performance is really just too spellbinding for me to deem it anything other than required listening for the discriminating indie-pop fan searching for something artistically edgy this October. Shrouded in darkness but begging to get just a little taste of the light on the other side of the tunnel, Hasten Mercy delivers an autumnal treasure here, and one I see myself revisiting in a favorites playlist many times before this year is over.
Winston Hennessey II