merci, mercy – ‘no thank you, no thanks’ review: bruised yet bubbly alt-pop that’s full of character

Rising Aussie artist tackles personal turmoil through infectious bangers that make you feel seen

merci, mercy’s whole aesthetic is indecision. Her stage name comes from not being able to decide which spelling she prefers and her Instagram bio proudly declares “my biggest flaw is that I’m indecisive as fuck :).” And with ‘no thank you, no thanks’, mercy delivers a coming-of-age record steeped in harsh realities that flickers between comfort, confusion and control.

A fiercely focused collection of troubled anthems, the six tracks that make up her debut EP are painfully vulnerable and designed to make sure that whoever is listening never feels as alone as mercy has felt. With the singer wearing her bruised, bloodied heart on her sleeve, the songs might be intimate, but backed by soaring pop beats, they wield a trembling power.

Chaotic party-starter ‘Tequila & Lemonade’ is the ultimate drink-until-you-forget anthem. A giddy burst of escapism, it cuts bubbling alt-pop with the need to get out of your own head. “I’m sick of hating the thoughts that I keep, can’t get them out they get stuck in my teeth… Fuck it, I’m going out,” sings mercy as she raises a glass to feeling free. By the time the woozy track comes to a glitching climax, it feels like anything is possible.

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It makes the comedown of ‘Fucked Myself Up’ that much harsher. Detailing countless mornings after the night before, mercy’s breakthrough track tackles alcohol dependency and self-sabotage with brutal transparency. The jaunty electro beat gives the song a real swagger as mercy, turning to booze to overcome social anxiety, finds herself torn between other people’s expectations, her own desire to fit in and what’s best for her.

What is it you want from me?” she sings during the biting chorus. “This shit don’t come so easy.” The doomed romance of ‘Fall Apart’ has the same energy, as mercy protects the the little bit of hope she has left. “Why would we start when I know we’re going to fall apart?” she asks, wanting to be convinced otherwise.

Things shift with the seemingly acoustic break-up ballad of ‘Something You Like’. Starting out full of emo heartache before picking itself up and transforming into something meditative, it’s the closest mercy gets to stripping things back. But even then, it’s ultimately a pulsating, synth-laced pop banger, with lines that cut deep: “I didn’t use to pretend I was brave, but now I do it so much I’m ashamed,” she sings.

Elsewhere ‘Wonder What It Feels Like’ finds the middle ground between Lorde and ‘1989’-era Taylor Swift with its big cry-dancing spirit. The EP closes with ‘The Very, Very End’, a jazzy number that – despite the swaying, piano-driven sonics – has no time for anyone else’s bullshit.

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Full of character and never holding anything back, mercy throws her whole self fearlessly into every track. Driven by that reckless, heartfelt confidence, ‘no thank you, no thanks’ is a kaleidoscopic blitz of genre-hopping might. She might not know how she wants to spell her name, but merci, mercy knows how to write an alt-pop banger that’ll make you feel understood.

Details

merci mercy debut EP no thank you no thanks
  • Release date: October 16
  • Record label: Liberation Records
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