Starting with a fade-in worthy of Pink Floyd and mixing influences as diverse as Joy Division, early Arcade Fire and Simon and Garfunkel, Casper Skulls' debut LP Mercy Works is one of the most exciting albums to come out of Toronto this year.
Despite their classic influences, there is something fresh about Casper Skulls. Rather than succumb to indie rock's typical apathy, there's energy crackling behind the scenes here. You can hear it, in the soaring vocals of Melanie Gail St-Pierre and the percussive shakers that add a welcome folk element to the band's rhythm section. Putting distorted power chords on tracks like "What's That Good For" is the sort of risk a lot of indie bands wouldn't take, but it gives Mercy Works enough teeth to make album highlight "Chicane, OH" more impactful by comparison.
Boosted by the chemistry the two singers obviously have, and pushed farther by intelligent lyrics that never stray into pretentious territory, Mercy Works is a fantastic album that could launch Casper Skulls to a place in the indie rock stratosphere. (Buzz)