Mt. Crushmore Records and New Jersey-based rock band Mercy Union are excited to announce the Friday, August 5 release of White Tiger, the trio’s second full-length studio album (pre-order). Inspired by memories of frontman Jared Hart’s formative years and the connection to late-nineties/early-aughts radio rock his older sister would blast in her car, the songs on White Tiger not only capture the spirit and essence of those years and the powerful magic of its music, but are bursting at the seams with it. A homage to that pivotal time in Hart’s life, White Tiger is a wide-eyed and windows-down rush that ties in his new found confidence as a musician with the music of his youth.
Recorded at Audio Pilot Studios by Rob Freeman, mixed by Gates’ Kevin Dye and mastered by Mike Kalajian, in terms of the richness, fullness and depth of its sound, White Tiger, the forthcoming album from Mercy Union, would proudly sit alongside any of the albums that were instrumental in shaping frontman Jared Hart’s musical identity. Yet while these songs do honor the bands behind those records, they also acutely redefine the kind of band that the members of Mercy Union — completed by Rocky Catanese (guitar/vocals) and Nick Jorgensen (bass/vocals), with Benny Horowitz on drums — aim to be while simultaneously reinforcing the sheer force of their talent.
It’s a statement of intent and a doubling down of ambition, as well as a set of songs that had the whole weight of existence on their shoulder. “The ultimate theme going into this record,” explains Hart, “was if this is the last record I ever make, I’m going to make the thing I’ve always wanted to make.”
That sense of urgency, determination and creative freedom are the driving forces behind this brand new showcase. It’s a potent combination that inhabits the nervous energy of the anthemic “Prussian Blue” — a song written “about Chernobyl and the fact your life can be affected in such a negative way by the ignorance and incompetence of a handful of humans,” but which has taken on even more poignant and potent significance in recent months.
That vitality also flows through the uplifting sadness of “The Weekend,” a song that’s as equally as defiant as it is resigned, and which explodes in its second half in an infectious turbo boost of post-emo/hardcore energy. “Janeway,” “Jacob’s Corporate Ladder” and “Selective Memory” are equally epic and emotive songs that sound like old friends you haven’t seen for decades but which you remember fondly, while the hard-edged romanticism of “The Void” is a song that brings all those influences charging emphatically into the present.
Because White Tiger — named for the ceramic white tiger brought back from Japan by Hart’s grandfather and which the band used as a votive during the recording process — doesn’t just honor the past, it captures the tension and uncertainty of the present day, too, and is very much a record made in, for and about these dark, difficult times. And although these songs rail against that darkness, Hart isn’t afraid to reveal his vulnerable side in his full-throated attempt at going for broke. “I made this album because I wanted it to sound like this,” Hart summarizes. “I wanted to hear this record — it’s one I personally think is missing from my library.”