RVG – A Quality of Mercy – Album Review by Killian Laher
A Quality of Mercy, the debut album from Australian band RVG, was quietly released late last year, but is now getting a wider release.
Contained here are eight tracks with perfect post-punk guitar lines, and singer Romy Varger belting out the lyrics. For some, it will remind them of eighties indie, literate bands like The Smiths or the Go-Betweens yet shaped into their own brand of gloom. The title track opens the album and is one of the more anthemic, uplifting songs here as Varger bellows “there’s no evil in me!” over ringing guitar and bass.
Second track Cause and Effect is typical of the album, gloriously downbeat guitar lines and a strident vocal from Varger. IBM takes this formula into a slightly different direction, sounding a little like Talking Heads as Varger gives it equal parts David Byrne and Mike Scott (of all people) over old-school machine noises. All the while the guitar work here is really exquisite.
Heart Paste is an absolute ringer for something from the Go-Betweens’ Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express. Eggshell World is moodier, a perfect soundtrack for staring out the window as Varger croons “I wasn’t sad but I wasn’t happy”. There’s not a bad song here, yet more terrific guitar lines introduce Vincent Van Gogh as Romy Varger produces a fair approximation of Robert Forster. Final track That’s All is more of a slow-burner than anything else here, but it’s a style the band pull off very well, aided and abetted by gorgeous, angular guitar lines.
You might argue the album is not particularly original. Or that it’s a little short (8 songs over 29 minutes). But bloody hell, they take that quintessentially eighties guitar sound and they nail it perfectly, coming off like a tribute rather than slavish replication. And who can argue with songs this good? Seems there may be something in the water in Australia…
Track List –
1. A Quality of Mercy
2. Cause and Effect
4. Heart Paste
5. Eggshell World
6. Vincent Van Gogh
7. Feral Beach
8. That’s All
A Quality of Mercy