Hey Mercedes - Loses Control (Cover Artwork)

Hey Mercedes

Hey Mercedes: Loses ControlLoses Control (2003)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I've been wrestling with this album for some time now. I finally kicked my Post-Braid Depression [PBD for short] sometime around March of 2002, finally allowing myself to enjoy Hey Mercedes for what they were - a really catchy yet complex emotional rock band, that knows how to bring the pain. Ok.
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I've been wrestling with this album for some time now. I finally kicked my Post-Braid Depression [PBD for short] sometime around March of 2002, finally allowing myself to enjoy Hey Mercedes for what they were - a really catchy yet complex emotional rock band, that knows how to bring the pain.

Okay, so they don't really bring the pain, per se, but they've still become one of my favorite live bands in recent memory. I've seen them enough times over the past year or so to see a good chunk of this new material played live. It always came off as significantly darker, more straightforward, and just more rock than Hey Mercedes had ever been before. I couldn't wait to hear the new album so I could see how these soon-to-be live favorites translated to compact disc.

And at first few listens, something about Loses Control just didn't sit right with me. For starters, Bob Nanna's voice seems too polished for him. You can hear the multitracking going on in the vocals in almost every single song, reminiscent of labelmate Matt Skiba of the Alkaline Trio's Good Mourning LP [and we all know how annoying that became]. The thing is, with Skiba it was needed as his vocal chords are becoming shredded. But with Bob, the man has one of the purest tenor voices in all of indie rock - it just seems like his vocal delivery is being weighed down on otherwise wonderful tracks like Boy Destroyers and the album's secret weapon, Oh Penny.

But once I got past the production mistakes on an otherwise great voice, my attention moved onto the guitar work. For the second album in a row, I have to question the producer's recording techniques. Hey Mercedes does have two guitars that generally play different things, but one of them almost always gets buried in the mix behind mounds of distortion. Only earlier tonight as I listened to this album through headphones did I finally discover some of the surprises buried in the mix [listen to "Quality Revenge At Last" through a good set of headphones to see what I mean].

Ironically, I really wasn't enjoying the album to a huge extent until that one time listening via headphones. Then all of the sudden the songs just clicked. The intensity of "It's Been A Blast" and "Knowing When To Stop' [although the latter still sounds eons better live] leap out of the left and right channels and pummels your ear drums. "Playing Your Song," while bizarre in the fact that Bob say "Fuckin'" a number of times [and lemme tell you, that just sounds awkward] is a fun uptempo romp, and "Police Police Me" really kicks out the 3/4 jams. And let's not forget about the band's second killer album closer in a row, this time being called "Go On Drone." It's a fun singalong, and it ties up the album nicely.

This album definitely took more than a few spins to really get into, but if you have patience and a good pair of headphones, you'll find that this was the perfect summer album of 2003, albeit 3 months late.

Quality Revenge At Last
Knowing When To Stop
It's Been A Blast
The Switch


People who liked this also liked:
Hey Mercedes - Everynight Fire WorksThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldBraid - Frame & CanvasAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The City On Film - In Formal IntroductionThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyTexas Is The Reason - Do You Know Who You Are?Latterman - ...We Are Still Alive

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
LIQUIDSWORDS (June 10, 2008)

I listen to this cd when my g/f dumps me for the 3948 time.

GlassPipeMurder (December 28, 2005)

Score is for Scott calling this "rock", "emotional rock", and "indie rock" and neglecting the obvious driving punk influence/sound.

The album is great though.

Anonymous (March 14, 2004)

what the hell happenned guys?

Anonymous (October 16, 2003)

If you close your eyes during Track 09 ("Oh Penny"), you could swear its Tears for Fears. I mean this in a good way, of course. : )

Anonymous (October 15, 2003)

i can't put my finger on it exactly, but i'm having a tough time getting into this one and i really want to like it. almost too poppy maybe. i think this one is kind of a letdown from everynight fireworks. i also agree with bob's vocals sounding a little weird in how they were recorded. almost too perfect sounding and not natural enough maybe?? there are some good songs on here but then some that i don't like at all such as "boy destroyers" and "playing your song." we all know braid was A LOT better but Hey Mercedes IS a different band and aren't trying to be braid. hey mercedes has some good stuff that i really like a lot but this one is not clicking with me yet. who knows, maybe in a few months i'll love this one too.

boba_fett (October 13, 2003)

yeah but i bet its just scott posting a million different things. either that or scott is an incredibly common name among visitors of punknews.org.

or scott has cloned himself 300,000 times.

ilikebandssuchasopivy (October 11, 2003)

is it me, or are there like 300,000 posters on this site named scott

thebouncingsoul (October 10, 2003)

i still love this band...and this album

Anonymous (October 10, 2003)

I don't think I have ever been more restless than when trying to sit through a Hey Mercedes live show. What is there to like about this band? Their songs are boring, the style is not original nor stimulating.

thebouncingsoul (October 10, 2003)

this is the worst string of comments in punknews.org history

Anonymous (October 10, 2003)

aww... nevermind.


Anonymous (October 10, 2003)

Ouch ...HAHAHAHA....man you are a faggot

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

"Awwww did you get your feeligns hurt Mr Emo?"

awwwww, lose your brain somewhere down the line?

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

hey mercedes... chris carrabba.. im so glad youve got your reviews straight..

themuffingirl (October 9, 2003)

next time don't forget headphones

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

headphones headphones headphones

also - headphones.

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

Awwww did you get your feeligns hurt Mr Emo?

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

You dont have to listen to this album to know its piece of shit.

Fuck you, I bet you haven't heard it yet.

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

You dont have to listen to this album to know its piece of shit.

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

Hey man, it's alright for people to have different opinions. Just because Scott doesn't think this is the best album in the land doesn't mean he hasn't thoroughly listened to it.


Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

To the guy who wrote this review:
Use your headphones more often dumbass!
And forget about Braid this is Hey Mercedes! You should always review an album by what you heard with headphones on.. come on!
This album is the best of 2003.

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

"emo is a fad, get over it"

I guess for you, thinking is a fad too? Get over it, bitch."

megan (October 8, 2003)

Jesse, you're in a band now? I can't comment about your band? Shoot, did you tell Katie you two broke up and that you're leaving her for me?

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

Vagrant Sidenote:

Why does everything Chris Carraba does invlove the Fifth Grade? Have you seen that Hands Down Video...Its like a Trapper-Keeper commercial!

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

emo is a fad, get over it

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

the sounds of assuck are better then this noise that you call "punk rock".

boba_fett (October 7, 2003)

one of my favorite things sbout the last cd was that the guitar sounded confused.

this one doesnt sound so confused. it sounds a little to organized.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

i agree with the shitty guitar recording.
you know which album has the worst guitar tone ever? forever and counting, by hotwatermusic.

Icapped2pac (October 7, 2003)

Actually, the cover was taken right at the opening of my digestive tract, better known as the anus. Every night, I put Bob Nanna in my toaster oven, and he shrinks like those stupid Shrinky Dinks. Then he crawls in my butt, for a nice warm place to sleep. Then, in the morning, I pour water on him and he grows back to his original size. The cover was taken one morning as he was leaving my ass to go to the studio.

I can't say anything too bad about this album for fear of Bob giving me a hemmorhoid, but I will say that I don't like it as much as the 1st album or the 1st EP. And I'll agree that it's really awkward hearing "fucking" come out of Bob's mouth. It seems really out of place.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

well guys, you can't make records that only other musicians like forever. i was glad to hear that non-musician types like myself can actually understand it. oh and by the way, a guy i know that is a recording enginner in chicago said that just about every one of your favorite records has "multi tracked" vocals. i guess it's very common. maybe i just have an untrained ear but i don't notice.

thebouncingsoul (October 7, 2003)

sure bob sounds polished...sure the guitars are less complex...but give it a chance, once you get past that, you'll realize how good this album is

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

multitracking on vocals?..............fucking idiot

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

I was a fan of the HM ep and thats about it. Now, they just sound like every other band on Vagrant. Chris from Braid is in a new band called Life at Sea. You should check them out.

thefunkybrother (October 7, 2003)

Did anybody see the Post-Braid Depression abbrevation real quickly and thought it said PBR? I did and it made me quiet thirsty for a beer.

As for the album I really don't know what to make of it, I'm sort of hoping it'll grow, but I don't know if it will.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

This is by far HM's worst release. I can't say it's bad, but a lot of the songs are just straight-forward poppunk, except for maybe his voice. I miss the old complexity of the music. HM already was less complex than Braid, but it was still very interesting musically, but with the exception of a few songs they've gone too far with simplefying the music.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

its ok, but i found it to be really bland. none of the songs stuck with me after the record ended. decent pop songs, but all the quirkiness was gone, and i think thats where nanna's power lies.

Jesse (October 7, 2003)

I think Megan doesn't get to comment about her boyfriend's band. (hehehe) Anyway, I definately don't dig the production on this one. I'm very disappointed in your lack of mentioning the lack of J.Robbins.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

hey dignin, check out chrisstrong.com, its the photographers website, you could probably find out there.

dignin (October 7, 2003)

does anyone know where the cover photo for this cd was taken? Because it looks like the tunnel right next to the field muesem in chicago. It be creepy if it was, cause I took a picture very similar there.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

nothing like a good cd and a walkman...

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

Hey, Anyone remember Chris Broach...that guy was awesome...

If you wanna hear good music...listen to the firebird band's "the Drive" EP (roy ewing, the original braid drummer, even plays on it.)

Bob Nanna is boring with Chris.

If i wanted to hear an overly produced and "slick" record, i'd listen to something like a Gin Blossoms record (i would too)

cubaricho (October 7, 2003)

this album would have been amazing if they had stuck with J. Robbins rather than going with the brothers.

still a 10 though, give it some time.

thebouncingsoul (October 7, 2003)

boy i sure am glad i put that comment under the right review

i quit

thebouncingsoul (October 7, 2003)

I was really excited to see this review up, considering that I went to this show, but this review was horrendous.

the crowd was just fine...and they didn't play "manthem"

Anonymous (October 6, 2003)

Also going to buy this tomorrow, I have only listened to a few songs, but from what I have heard i enjoyed. I honestly believe all music sounds better through a good set of headphones. I have yet to find something that just doesn't sound better, on every aspect, on headphones. You can really focus on the music and everything about it. Anyway, cool.

-Anthony AKA zooyorker

megan (October 6, 2003)


I felt the same way Scott did about the vocal mix at first, but you know what? It couldn't stop me from loving this album, and even though I'm quite biased towards the Hey, I think they've really got something here. This album is forty-three minutes of happiness for my ears

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