Steve Stanley & The Mercs are back and as a fan, this makes me very happy! Their 2013 release The Unfortunate EP is a huge favourite of mine due to it’s interesting sound that is a blend of pop, punk and rock with a cool folk twist. I have listened to this EP a lot since its release as it has so many outstanding tracks including my favourite song ‘Stay with Me’ which still sounds great today! If you want to check out my review of the EP then click the link for ‘Introducing Steve Stanley & The Mercs’.
Well, Steve Stanley (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar), Casey Crawford (Drums), John-Marc Stanley (Lead Guitar/Vocals) and Chris ‘Timmy’ Compton (Bass) aka Steve Stanley & the Mercs are back with their new EP ‘When In Roam’. When I heard the guys were working on this release I was excited to hear what they had created, but also nervous as I rate their debut release so highly. So, how does it sound? Well you will have to wait a bit longer to find out as I had the chance to catch up with the front man from the band Steve Stanley. I asked a bit about the band and the When in Roam EP, this is what he had to say:
To any new listeners to your music, how did Steve Stanley and the Mercs come together and how would you describe your sound?
I was playing a bunch of solo shows and put out a low-fi solo/acoustic EP. Some friends suggested that we build a band around the sound that I was playing. So, we (John-Marc Stanley, Andy Gomoll and myself) decided that we would get in the studio and try to develop a unique sound. That turned out to be the first Steve Stanley and the Mercs EP (The Unfortunate EP). We typically are called folk/indie rock.
What was your goal when you began writing ‘When in Roam’?
Our main goal with “When in Roam” was to up our game from our previous EP. We wanted something that was stronger, all the way around. My focus is typically melodies and lyrical content. John-Marc and Andy bring some really cool musical arrangement and guitar work to the table.
How did you feel when you and the band heard the final cut of the EP?
Ultimately, I was stoked. The EP exceeded my expectations and is something that I’m really proud of.
What is your favourite song from the EP and why?
I think Death and Nostalgia is my favorite song on this EP. We actually tried to record this song previously, but weren’t sure what should be done with it, so we held off. When we started recording again, we played around with it and came up with the final arrangement. The song was written for a friend of mine who died a few years ago in a car accident. Ultimately, it speaks to my mourning process. I feel like we really caught the feeling that I was feeling at the moment my friend died. Also, having Zedidiah Word on the track was a special treat. I really look up to Zed and am honored that he would take the time to devote some vocals and guitar work.
When in Roam offers more songs than before which is great for someone like me who wants to hear as many songs as possible. From the start of the EP you get the familiar acoustic/banjo combination that caught my attention from their previous release. It felt like the return of an old friend. These instruments blend together to create their pop punk meets folk sound, that for me is their trademark. Musically, I wouldn’t say there’s been any major changes which I approve of as I like their musical formula. I will say that the band do sound stronger but I guess the band now have a better understanding of each other’s abilities with the time they have been together.
This EP shows off two different sides to the music by Steve Stanley & the Mercs. Tracks like ‘Fear in a Handful of Dust’ and ‘I Wanna be with You’ give that upbeat trademark sound that I have come to expect from the guys. This is the fun side to the band which I imagine is so much fun at their gigs. As much as I love their upbeat sound, it’s their slower tracks that really stand out for me. This side of their music has a wonderful delicate and controlled sound which delivers a more emotional performance. This also shows off Steve’s softer vocal style which I think is when he sounds at his best, the song ‘Roam’ is a great example of this. The control in his voice seems stronger than ever and the emotion he delivers in his tone mirrors the music as well as the lyrics to perfection. Speaking of lyrics, I feel that they are much stronger on this release and shows how much the band have developed their song writing technique.
My highlights from When in Roam include the songs ‘Death and Nostalgia’ and ‘I Wanna be with You’. However, ‘Roam’ is by far my favourite as it stood out so much on the first listen. The emotional tone of this song is tender which is reflected by a wonderful musical performance from the guys. This song also gives my favourite vocal performance by Steve.
Overall, this is another fantastic release from the guys, but of course I would say that as I am a fan! This release shows an improved balance in their sound and shows a new depth to their music. Check out When in Roam for yourself by heading over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) where you can also listen to their debut release The Unfortunate EP. If you like what you are hearing then you can purchase their music while you are there.
Steve told me that they are working on some Christmas songs that they expect to release in October/November. Other than that, their plans are to play as many gigs as possible and there is also a rumour that they might be working on a new video too. If you want to find out about their shows or their future music releases then head over to social media pages at Facebook and Twitter.
I know the guys would love to play in the UK which would be great for me if it happens as I would to hear their music performed live. To help make this happen and get their music out to new listeners it is our duty as fans to help spread the word. This goes to any music that matters to you, it is up to you to support it anyway you can. So go tell your friends and the world about the music of Steve Stanley & The Mercs today!