SHOW NO MERCY
Alexander Gow's softly spoken demeanour permeated the crackling phone line, dissipating my nerves instantly. Anyone who has talked to Alexander, vocalist of OH MERCY, could confirm that his presence holds a certain unique charisma- quietly complex and genuinely friendly. Oh Mercy's lyrically charged music is a clear and true representation of Alexander himself, and not a false marketing strategy. I was genuinely overcome by a man-crush.
After a brief and well-deserved solitary sojourn to Brooklyn NY, Alexander met with two time Crowded House record producer and keyboard player Mitchell Froom, to record their delightfully titled sophomore album Great Barrier Grief. As far as song writing is concerned, Alexander takes a self-coined “naive approach”, starting with a “concept or sentiment”, which slowly develops for months at a time. "There are certain concepts that interest me more than others (an ever prevalent one being the 'effect that a woman has over a man'). There is also a brighter sense of humour thrown in there. A lack of pretence - I feel like I have to put all my cards on the table.”
To compliment their raw and honest translation of emotion into lyrics, Alexander shied away from over production and layering techniques, loosely inspired by 60's R&B: "There is a certain way that music affects the listener when only four or five people play it. Once you turn it up past a certain level it kind of hits you in this unique way - that interests me.”
Like so many up and coming Australian bands, Oh Mercy made the leap abroad to record their sophomore album, a move Alexander attributes to "a reflection on the lack of interest in our own music in Australia.” Despite being Triple J unearthed winners, Alexander is no stranger to the plight of Aussie artists in a commercially driven music industry. “There are so many great bands out there that the record labels aren't listening to and no one gives a shit about, [then] everyone jumps on the bandwagon and tries to say they were there from the start. Finally, they have the budget to make the record they wanted to in the first place, which a lot of the time means going overseas.”
Despite this, Alexander holds the Australian landscape as one of his many pieces of inspiration. “I would say that I am inspired by an Australian landscape. The American culture and the landscape had nothing to do with me while I was writing and recording that album. I could have made the same-sounding record anywhere in the world.”
So what can Canberra expect from Oh Mercy? Alexander puts it simply – “You can expect to pay too much for a beer, and line up to the toilet and for it to be kind of loud, and I'll be wearing a colourful shirt.” I'm sure it’ll be much more than that...
Oh Mercy are heating up the ANU Bar on Wednesday April 6. Tickets are available through Ticketek, for $19.90.