“This song is about coming to terms with the fact that the person you’re in love with is no longer in love with you,” says vocalist and guitarist Brendan Scholz of Las Vegas-based pop-punk outfit MERCY MUSIC on the band’s devastatingly upbeat alt-rock single/video (“Love You/Need You”) taken from their upcoming fourth full-length album What You Stand To Lose out June 30th via Double Helix Records/SBÄM Records. “There is all of the physical and mental pain that comes with [heartbreak], along with trying to handle it all and using it to try and grow to be better. The lyrics in the chorus were a way of narrowing down things said to me throughout the situation.” Bassist Jarred Cooper adds, “Brendan is a master at playing what we call ‘expensive chords.’ This song is a prime example of that. It will definitely be a live staple as it is, in my opinion, one of the best songs on the album. I get heavy ’90s vibes from it, which I love.”
The title of their new album refers to the many monumental changes in Scholz’s personal life since it was “flipped upside down” between this album and their last (2020’s Nothing in the Dark), “What You Stand To Lose is about coming face to face with one of your worst fears, learning from the experience, and hoping you come out the other side a better person,” says Scholz. Over the course of these 11 tracks, Scholz (who penned all the songs), bassist Jarred Cooper, and drummer Rye Martin, mostly sound downright happy. So long as you don’t listen too closely to the lyrics, What You Stand To Lose just sounds… fun and good and poppy. This isn’t just happenstance. This is by design.
Once the songs for What You Stand To Lose started taking shape during the writing process, the band felt this album needed extra special treatment and there was only one producer in the world who they knew could help them bring the album to life: Bill Stevenson, known the world over for his work with Descendents, ALL, and Black Flag at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado (longtime home to Stevenson and his studio partner, Jason Livermore). According to plan, working first with Stevenson at The Blasting Room to record the album and then with Livermore to mix and master it, injected exactly the right amount of magic and finely trained knowhow into What You Stand To Lose that it required. Amidst angelically-contoured vocals, jaw-dropping guitar solos, fret-defying finger-picked bass riffs, and massively stalwart drumming, the band’s surreal studio experience resonates loud and clear on What You Stand To Lose. On the album, Scholz, Cooper, and Martin are at once regretful (“Real,” “Undone,” “Watch Me Drown,” “Waiting to Begin”), wistful (“Found Out I’m Useless,” “Fine,” “What’s The Use”), and hopeful (“Believe In We,” “Suddenly”). Somehow, despite the turmoil, What You Stand To Lose belies the actual circumstances of its origins. “I like to describe Mercy Music as pop hooks with guitar solos,” says Scholz. “We fall somewhere in between Superdrag, Squeeze, Samiam, Jawbreaker, and Thin Lizzy.”
When all is said and done, Scholz, Cooper, and Martin are just good people who care a whole lot about the people who depend on them – all three of them are devoted fathers, the latter two to very young children – and they also care a whole lot about the people who turn to Mercy Music for solace. “I want people to know they’re not alone in whatever they’re struggling with,” said Scholz, thoughtfully, “I hope they find comfort in the record the same way I do in the records I love.” Cooper adds, “When people listen to our new album, I want them to feel happy, sad, inspired, and depressed. Then I want them to feel happy again. That last part is critically important.”
Following the release of Nothing in the Dark in 2020, which was produced by Cameron Webb (Alkaline Trio/Motörhead), What You Stand To Lose is Mercy Music’s fourth full-length album since they formed in 2014 and the band sounds every bit like the seasoned veterans they now are. After all, this new record’s inspiration has proven to Mercy Music that nothing should be taken for granted, no time should be wasted, and there is everything in the world to lose by not collectively fighting hard enough to succeed.
No strangers to the road, Mercy Music have also just kicked off a string of live shows supporting Unwritten Law and Authority Zero that will see them pass through cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa, Charlotte, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago, and Las Vegas before capping off at Pioneertown on April 15. Having extensively toured the United States and the European Union, appearing at high-profile U.S. festivals like SXSW, Punk Rock Bowling, and Life is Beautiful, and sharing the stage with a host of legendary acts, including The Offspring, Rise Against, MxPx, Descendents, Face to Face, Flogging Molly, Against Me!, Unwritten Law, and Bob Mould. Mercy Music intend to pound the pavement on both sides of the pond to make sure that everyone, everywhere hears this record and knows the name Mercy Music.