EP review: Joseph of Mercury - Joseph of Mercury

Review: Joseph of Mercury - Self-titled EP | Random J Pop

Joseph of Mercury is somewhat of a mystery. Where-as most new artists jump out in a bid for you to get to know them, Joseph doesn't seem to concerned about any of that shit. Despite having written and produced music for years, even co-writing for other artists such as Nelly Furtado, Joseph is wrapped in obscurity. Google him and you won't find a great deal. Even on the cover of his own EP, he's hiding. But he wants to be seen and heard. His visual aesthetic and sound is far too laser sharp for him not to be.

Where-as SZA's Ctrl felt like you were getting full diary transcripts, Joseph of Mercury's self-titled EP is like snippets of random diary entries tossed from the shadows. After a run through of his EP you'll deduce that Joseph has experienced love, experienced loss and that he's succumbed to lust. But to the extent of which, you do not know. What happened either side of these experiences are left blank. We're just given snapshots into moments of a complete stranger who just happens to make really good pop records which sound like they're from a completely different generation.

The sound of this album swings between new wave, synth pop and a bit of rock. But Joseph of Mercury will probably go on to be characterised by the song "Angel". The most hit potential and chart ready song on this EP, which eschews the 80s new wave pop vibe in favour of a 60s candour much akin to the Righteous brothers' "Unchained melody". It would be easy to pigeon hole Joseph as the male Lana Del Rey going on "Angel" alone, but listening to the rest of the EP dispels this. His overall sound is much more akin to Duran Duran, which places Joseph in an in-comparative league at a time when every pop act has a same generational comparison. But the Lana Del Rey comparisons aren't void. As she's probably the closest thing to a comparison that Joseph has.

The Duran Duran feels hit instantly with the opening track "Do you remember?" which sounds like a lost tape from one of their earlier recording sessions. A sound and reference which permeates through "Tarot", "Find you inside" and "Young thing". The sound is completely authentic. These songs aren't attempts at Joseph trying to capture a a sound, they're are receipts of Joseph fucking doing the shit out of it.

The production and the mixing on this album skirts close to gorgeous. The song structures are simple, but there are small details and intricacies here which make them layered and rich. "Tarot" is the best example of this. Right up until it closes, the song just continually builds in layers - starting with one vibe and ending on another.

Joseph also plays around with his voice, producing it in the same way he does the music, adding effects to add breadth and have it sit within the music and soar above it when necessary. But in no way do the effects take away from Joseph's vocals, nor are they used to mask that he can't sing. Joseph in fact has a really nice voice. His Baritone has a really nice texture, but he plays around with it via his enunciation of certain words (which may possibly be a result of him being Canadian) and not being afraid to jump into the upper end of his range, particularly on the choruses of the songs which is where he often sings at his highest.

Whilst the mystery of who Joseph of Mercury is certainly adds to the allure of the music, there's no getting away from how well produced this EP is and that Joseph knows how to write a fucking chorus, and this is what kept me listening to this album above everything else.

RATING: 7 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Do you remember
Tarot ★ J's fave
Find you inside

Listen to / Download Joseph of Mercury's self titled EP: Google Play | Spotify | iTunes

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