The Schomberg Fair Mercy

The Schomberg Fair Mercy
This Toronto, ON trio's previous full-length album, Gospel, was a major step forward, in terms of blending singer-songwriter Matt Bahen's dark visions with the group's genuine psychobilly sound. Mercy continues to show the Schomberg Fair developing that approach, and the combination of more fleshed-out arrangements and higher production values results in five tracks that rock as hard as anything else out there while remaining infused with the ghosts of their early 20th century touchstones. Although Bahen's banjo playing is the group's engine, the Schomberg Fair's advantage is still their bottom end. Bassist Nate Sidon, in particular, must be given credit for finding new ways to deploy his distinctive baritone backing vocals much more effectively, while at the same time giving a song like "Black Train" an irresistible, Sabbath-like grandeur. If their next full-length album can sustain such intensity, it's safe to say that the Schomberg Fair will deserve to be included in the conversation about not only Canada's best roots rockers, but Canada's best bands, period. (Independent)