Vess, Wazu, Mercies

When: Fri., Aug. 24 2012

MERCIES This Connecticut band records in an old barn they’ve refitted into a studio and cleverly dubbed “The Barn” in the Constitution State’s northern hinterlands. If you think that translates into backporch pickin’ or rustic Americana, think again. The band — co-founded by Josh Rheault and Sammy Dent in 2009 — is touring behind its dream-like EP Ballet, released in March. Instrumental music commissioned for a ballet, its lush textures and minor-key melancholy bear a distinct wintery stamp. Ironically, it was the band’s debut, Three Thousand Days, that it recorded in the dead of winter, often when powering the equipment trumped the electric heaters. Maybe that’s why that album has a wistful, late-summer feel, as though each song were a mini-vacation to some warmer clime. Mercies’ Bandcamp page calls the music “folk rock, beach pop, (and) forest-core,” but more specific sonic toeholds would point to elaborate vocal harmonies influenced by the Beach Boys and sounding like, say, Midlake; keyboards that carry the melody as often as they wash through it, and guitars that serve as accents rather than centerpieces. The singer’s delivery tilts over-dramatic at times, but your mileage may vary. Otherwise, a promising act.

John Schacht

Price: $5