[Album Review] Casper Skulls - Mercy Works
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

Release Date: November 3rd, 2017
Label: Buzz Records

With Mercy Works, Casper Skulls deliver on their promise of excellent post-punk done right. Their last release, 2016’s Lips & Skull EP, first hinted at their potential, offering an energetic, loud and ultimately catchy cacophony that combined all of the best parts of post-punk and lo-fi slacker rock. On Mercy Works, they’re able to expand on this promise, and deliver a layered, intricately arranged and ultimately, denser sound. They’re still loud, they’re still all about guitar riffs that hit you right in the gut – just this time around, you might hear a string section, too (like on “Lingua Franca”).

Sonically, one of the most striking things about Mercy Works is that it’s just as much a pop record as it is a post-punk/indie rock record. The songs are catchy without losing their post-punk, percussive and distorted heart. For example, the earnest yearning of the aforementioned “Lingua Franca” is the kind of driving indie rock that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pavement record (and the same can be said of “What’s That Good For”). Even the songs that dive into their more experimental side, like “I Stared At “Moses and the Burning Bush”” feature strong and memorable melodies over swirling, layered guitars.

Even with pop underpinnings, the band retain their grittier edges, like on “Glories”, a song that alternates between distorted trash and quiet, introspective guitar riffs in the verses.  On “Colour of the Outside”, the song builds up gradually into an ominous crescendo, and yet still manages to be one of the catchiest vocal melodies on the record (the “I see the world break down…” verse at the end of the bridge is a standout).

Mercy Works doesn’t just showcase the band’s sonic growth – the full-length format sees the band dive deeper into personal relationships (“Lingua Franca”), religion (“I Stared at “Moses and the Burning Bush””) and even mortality on the Paul Simon-referencing “You Can Call Me Allocator”.