Tender Mercy, The Road To Good Intention Is Paved With Hell EP
Tender Mercy’s The Road To Good Intention Is Paved With Hell is an exploratory and experimental record, unlike anything I’ve recently laid ears on. Free of rock cynicism or pompous overproduction, the record emerges as an incredibly personal portrait of former Dayton musician, singer Mark Kramer. Tender Mercy’s “Shame” is both a delicate and fractured song. Kramer’s bare bones delivery is supplemented by resonant piano notes and bleeding guitar; each its own skeletal structure that combines in striking and honest ways. Shadowy and enigmatic, like a figure rocking on the porch during a late night rainstorm, tracks “Prize” and “Expect” are both delicate offerings that unfold slowly and deliberately. Though I wouldn’t peg The Road To Good Intention Is Paved With Hell as alt-country or folk, Tender Mercy’s strength lies is an understated and honest offering that burns with soulfulness and innocence. No track exhibits this phenomenon more than “Drive On,” which is carefully arranged to accent Kramer’s dramatic bleating. If you’re looking for a bloated and indulgent rock record, this isn’t it. Minimalist and heartbreaking? This is your jam.
The record, which features cover art from Dayton artist Don Pendleton, can be previewed and ordered at /tendermercy.bandcamp.com.