A Quality Of Mercy Monorail Album Of The Month

Fat Possum

Released: 17th July 2018

Sometimes you just hear something that clicks. With a passionate urgency, singer Romy Vager’s raging against unfairness on album opener A Quality Of Mercy strikes the heart of the listener immediately. Her group RVG’s sound is uncanny, something familiar, classic but also bursting with the energy of instinct and indignation. As a songwriter, Vager’s talent is in spinning tales akin to precise short stories, with the eponymous song narrating a condemned convict’s plea for innocence in the face of capital punishment. Hearing Vager’s repeated refrain “there’s no evil in me…” at the end of the song sends shivers down the spine.

Hailing from Melbourne, RVG have managed to distil a distinctly antipodean form of songsmithery, think a more ragged, street-smart Go-Betweens covered by primetime Gun Club and broadened the scope with a wide-eyed sincerity that’s immediately arresting. There are points on their debut album which strike like early Echo & The Bunnymen fried in the Australian sun, like on the acerbic Vincent Van Gogh. The group are adept at framing Vager’s songs in frayed-at-the-edges jangle, with melodic guitar lines dovetailing the phrases. The instrumental treatment is straight to the point, vital and razor-sharp. RVG are an important group, a “rock ’n’ roll” group for this time, unafraid and glaring, kicking against the 21st century’s pricks. Debut album from Australian punk band RVG drawing on an array of influences from
Echo and the Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, and The Go Betweens.

A Quality of Mercy is made up of Eight songs. Classic songs. Songs recorded by the band, live off the floor, at Melbourne’s iconic rock’n’roll pub, The Tote. Songs that leant on the band’s heroes —the Go-Betweens, the Soft Boys, the Smiths— whilst never sounding like homage or pastiche. Songs hitting that sweet spot between light and dark, employing guitars both angular and jangling. All of the songs on A Quality Of Mercy find Vager trying to move beyond ego, beyond the simple confessional of the songwriter, hoping to find perspective on both world and self. In such, these songs are at once personal and universal, intimate and grand, timely and timeless. They’re classic songs. And there’s eight of them. Adding up to a perfectly-formed debut that says so much, yet gets out in under half-an-hour.