Amelia Curran brings something different to the table on her seventh album, They Promised You Mercy. The St. John's-based singer-songwriter has often stuck with her tried and true methods of gut-your-heart lyrics and sparse instrumentation, but this time around, with the help of producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda (Measha Brueggergosman, Rheostatics), Curran dishes up a louder but still palatable rock sound that maintains her seasoned lyrical integrity (She's been compared to Leonard Cohen).
Opener "Somebody Somewhere," showcases that noisier new sound, with Hammond organ, rousing-rock harmonies, sing-along-able "na-nas" and fuller bass and drums than on Curran's previous albums. This tone carries through the first four tracks, including the almost Tom Petty-esque (in a good way) "Never Say Goodbye." It's not until track five that we get a rearview mirror look into the melancholic Curran we know from Spectators and Hunter Hunter with the softer tune "Time, time," complete with finger-picked guitar and soaring strings (and those knife-edged lyrics: "You only promised me pages/ I promised you books/ Oh time, time/ Break the boundaries /In the lines of time"). But it's a brief glance, and Curran continues and concludes the album with more toe-tapping, horn sections and drums.
All in all, They Promised You Mercy is a refreshing departure for Curran. It balances her growth into a fuller sound with her raw and well-honed lyrics. (Six Shooter)