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Album Review

Memories unearthed after a season of snow are released in a swift rush of spring scents on Lisa Cerbone's Mercy. The singer/guitarist can waft in jangle pop winds like the Sundays or twist her voice to mimic Kate Bush's witching woman-child. In fact, the sweet arrangements provided by a talented backing band, while clearly enjoyable, might almost be unnecessary; Cerbone's lovely vocals could take root in a wasteland. If she's not a household name, perhaps it's because Cerbone has a household of her own to watch after. Her releases have been infrequent, but they're the beneficiary of much care and craftsmanship. Not one track on Mercy is less than good, and a few — "Sorry," "Everything He Loved" (with its shades of Suzanne Vega), and "Only Good Thoughts, My Love" — are flat-out terrific. The disc does follow the familiar female songwriter pattern of stark confessionals and uniquely feminine twists on matters of the heart, Cerbone able in some cases to speak volumes with a tangential study of love that's at once obscuring and revealing. Not content to merely melt in sweet sighs, the songs have a playful subversion to them, whether it's the baby's heartbeat on "Mercy" or the psychedelic touches on "Between Hi and Goodbye." Mercy is an artful balance between emotion and entertainment, invigorating and keenly observational at once. In an industry that favors quantity over quality and marketability over merit, Lisa Cerbone has given listeners in Mercy a small wonder to cherish.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Lisa Cerbone's early attempts at playing a musical instrument were furtive efforts. As a teenager, she would wait until the members of her little brother's band left their practice area, then creep in to have a go at the instruments they had left behind. Stymied when she tried to play songs written by others, she proceeded to write her own. She grew into a respected, creative, and abundantly productive singer/songwriter, putting out her eponymous first recording in 1993. Ichiban Records, a label...
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Mercy, Lisa Cerbone
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