Mercy, Planes Mistaken for Stars' sixth release in as many years and its debut on the Abacus imprint, is every bit as caustic and brooding as anything the act has ever done -- only more primal, focused and terrifyingly intense. Thanks to the stripped-down production of Matt Bayles, the serrated edge of singer/guitarist Gared O'Donnell's menacing yowl rips through the squall of guitars with a newfound clarity. Like Motrhead dosing codeine, Planes has slowed its careen into a deliberate, murderous stagger, creating a palpable sense of dread that pervades Mercy (being celebrated with a CD-release show this Tuesday, October 17, at the Marquis Theater). The band also exhibits an extraordinary sense of dynamics on tracks such as "Killed by Killers Who Kill Each Other" and "To Spit a Sparrow," which roll in like ominous storm clouds on the horizon, build into a tempest-like fury and then quietly dissipate. After never quite catching flight over the years, Mercy finds Planes poised for takeoff.
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