The Mercury Cure
Origin Sound Productions 2014
by Andrew C Schlett
Without intending any offense to Houston Music, so much of what we listen to around here
these days sounds rather similar. Death-metal guttural screaming over heavy and fast,
but largely unvarying, riffs; double-kick and snare drum slamming out a very predictable
time signature; and usually you can’t even tell what the bass player is doing. There is a
place in music for guttural screaming, yes, and for straight-ahead monotonic heavy
chords, but if that’s all your music is made of then you are going to put me to sleep every
time. Not every band in Houston sounds like this, there are a few playing out there who
thrive on pure originality and not sounding like anyone else; but unlike the late 80s and
early 90s, they’re neither the majority nor the model to our current scene. Far too often,
out at a club or venue watching a show, I find myself asking when scream-o, emo, and
playing into any of the various ‘cores’ became the accepted norm. All I want to do is just
fucking rock, man. Whatever happened to rock and roll?
Along comes The Mercury Cure. Hearing their debut demo is to be offered hope; a two-song
sojourn into music that truly rocks, does not sound like everything else out there, and
just flat-out doesn’t suck. It’s frenzied and manic, yes, but melodic and solidly based in
musicianship and lyricism that hearkens back to the olden days when music was driven by
individual artistic inspiration, not just following the herds. This is 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s era
rock-n-roll re-done for the 21st century. This is heavy metal riffs and fast fret work over
delta-style blues chords. This is thumping bass lines over jazzy drum patterns. This is an
amalgamation of every musical style and attitude that has ever influenced rock-n-roll, an
incorporation of musical history into a single package that has aspects of all, resembles
none specifically, has virtually universal appeal to all but the extremes, and proves that
rock is not dead after all.
And that’s just in two songs. A full-length album from this band would surely be
groundbreaking, and their brand of self-described ‘high-octane rock-n-roll’ could ultimately
change the face of modern H-Town music.
The demo opens with ‘(Whatever Happened To) Rock & Roll’, casually referenced to
observant readers in the above opening paragraph. This song starts out strong from the
beginning, bringing the powerful guitar of Kelly FitzSimons immediately to the fore. The
rest of the band brings in heavy backing melody and hard-hitting drum work, leading to
vocalist Josh Killian (who can actually sing) admonishing the audience to “put down your
fucking phones” because “you’re at a fucking show”. How can you not love this? The
theme to this band, if there is one at all, is just that: lose the distractions, lose the
pretentions, lose the bullshit, and just fucking rock. This is a refreshingly straightforward
outlook in a culture where distractions, pretensions, and bullshit generally prevail. The
second song, ‘Your Next Deception’ continues the same theme of critically calling-out
artificialness and facade, of which this world knows no shortage, over the driving beat of
drummer Darren Robertson and the flowing rhythm of bassist Joe Praetorius along with
the continued enhancement of FitzSimon’s unpredictable and highly skilled guitar work.
It’s no surprise that The Mercury Cure is as talented as it is. The lineage of this line-up is
impressive. Both Kelly FitzSimons and Darren Robertson, half of the band, used to be
members of Carry The Storm, a heavy thrash outfit very popular around these parts until
their recent break-up. Bass player Praetorius is also currently known for his work in Color
Chemistry, and singer Killian used to be the lungs for Test Of Fate. When you take all this
and blend it together into one unit, the result is straight-on rock and roll that is remarkably
complex in its individual parts but flawlessly simple in its finished presentation. Rock, or
go home. This reviewer chooses to rock.
The Mercury Cure can be seen playing out more and more often in and around Houston.
If, like me, you also wonder whatever happened to rock-n-roll, then wonder no longer.
Rock-n-roll has a new name, and a new sound. Rock-n-roll is born again! The Mercury
Cure can be found on Reverbnation at http://www.reverbnation.com/themercurycure or on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/themercurycure and somewhere on Twitter, if
you’re into the whole tweeting thing. No matter how you find them, make the effort to do
so. For my money, there’s not a crisper or more refreshing band out there right now.
Editor's note: It is with great sadness that we must report that The Mercury Cure has, since the time this review was first written, broken up and no longer play as a band. However, there is always hope for a reunion show. Just FYI, the original posting of this review on the Rivethead Facebook page garnered well over 1,400 views in 24 hours, which still stands to this day as a Rivethead Record! Thanks for the cool jams, Mercury Cure! Just fucking rock!!
BECAUSE THE MUSIC MATTERS!!!
"(Whatever Happened To) Rock & Roll" and "Your Next Deception are two songs from The Mercury Cure demo disc. They are presented with permission of the band.