I had actually become familiar with The Mooney Suzuki a couple of years back with the release of the Columbia-released, Matrix-produced Alive and Amplified. Mainly what I heard were the cries of sellout and how the album was generic, glossed-over to a fault and even a bit opportunistic. By that time the whole retro rock craze was taking an annoying hold on the consuming public and The Moonies felt that perhaps it was best that seven or eight years in the indie rat race was time enough and it was now or never if they wanted to get a piece of the arena pie. Then nothing happened. After that though, everything happened, everything shitty that is. They soon found themselves off of Columbia, they jumped to V2 but that label imploded, they lost members, it goes on, until some sub-label of another label under a big distributor came into save their asses.
It takes a special set of ears to properly digest what Have Mercy is cooking. An ear that can perhaps tolerate a certain degree of rock derivativeness not seen since The Von Bondies—who at this point have pretty much gone the way of The Rembrandts. I can only suppose that the band is in tune with the direction of their tunes. It’s painfully obvious that these guys want to rock with the likes of The Rolling Stones and Love. This album is nothing but riffs, and not just any old riffs, loud riffs, orgasmic riffs, manly riffs, druggy riffs…it goes on, take your pick. Do you like the song that sounds like the Byrds or the one that sounds like Thin Lizzy? Do you want to get high and knocked up to “Rock and Roller Girl” or “Good Ol’ Alcohol?”
What separates The Mooney Suzuki from other bands of this ilk is the artiness factor. While a Strokes or a White Stripes will have at least some flutter of musical or conceptual creativity (The Strokes’ album cover art can be pretty impressive), The Mooney Suzuki don’t seem to give a shit about that kind of thing. Even their artwork harkens back to the colorful days of old. The band simply let the good times roll. All of these songs are certified rockers. Some are slow, some are fast, some are anthems and some are ballads. “99%” seems to be the arena centerpiece and the one that the band will be ready to open or close with every show of their tours, while everything else is formidable midway filler.
I try not to be the type of person who wallows in nostalgia, though at times I do succumb, but when I think of classic rock, I think of the jocks and snobs who felt me a retard for listening to anything put out past 1981. There are things on this album for a good many people to enjoy, for people who don’t get hung up on who did what first and who did what much much better. I suppose there’s more practical use for this type of band—a cover band that has the good sense and dignity not to do covers at least—in a live setting for those who want not to watch the highlights of Chicago or The Guess Who on DVD or YouTube. For me though, there’s plenty of time for nostalgia when I’m dead.
Jet – Get Born
Mando Diao – Ode to Ochrasy
The Go – Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride