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Combining the sulky girly indieness of [a]Juliana Hatfield[/a] with the sweet girly balladeering of [a]Lisa Loeb[/a], [B]Sharon[/B] is part choirgirl, part bellowing rock chick and part spurned coun

Mercedes must have great faith in their own talent. See, bands named after posh cars (see Jaguar or the short-lived Limousine) are usually synonymous with testosterone disasters. Pretty boys with nice haircuts who want to play at being rock stars while everyone else ignores them.



Thankfully, unsigned Northeasterners Mercedes are none of these things. Four serious-looking men (haircuts not an issue) and a cheerier ponytailed woman, Sharon, on vocals and guitar, this is slow-burning, studied folk-rock. It's the Female Unbelievable Truth - gentle, angelic and at times as plain beautiful as it can be boring.



There's the obligatory Radiohead Moment that all bands must include these days in grandly delicate set-closer 'Ready' and a famous name behind the scenes - My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields has remixed a song called 'Sinc'. More impressive than all this, though, is Sharon's enormous, atmospheric voice.



Combining the sulky girly indieness of Juliana Hatfield with the sweet girly balladeering of Lisa Loeb, Sharon is part choirgirl, part bellowing rock chick and part spurned country and western damsel. Incredibly, songs like 'Nailed' see her doing all three, at once, to the soft, steady loveliness of their creepy folk.



No fast thrills or staggering surprises, but a quiet, unexpected victory nonetheless.

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