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Dave Matthews Band, ‘Mercy’ – Song Review

'Mercy'
RCA

Dave Matthews Band‘s history with producer Steve Lillywhite has certainly been a mixed bag, but that didn’t stop them from recruiting him to helm sessions for their latest album, ‘Away From the World,’ which drops on Sept. 11. Lillywhite previously worked with DMB on their first three discs — ‘Under the Table and Dreaming,’ ‘Crash’ and ‘Before These Crowded Streets,’ which also happen to be by far their three most successful — before firing him during sessions for their fourth, ‘Everyday.’

Dave and his Band have only watched their massive sales decline since then, but first ‘Away From the World’ single ‘Mercy’ seems to suggest the reunion could mean a return to form. Not only is the tune their most immediately catchy single since 1996′s ‘Crash Into Me,’ the Band’s only one to break the Top 20 on the Billboard singles chart, but it also is their best.

‘Mercy’ starts with the type of infectious three-note melody DMB haven’t churned out in years, all acoustic guitar and upbeat rhythms serving as the foundation for Matthews’ familiar voice. Most recent singles mark a trend towards busier and perhaps even brasher, but here they keep things simple, and the world is a better place because of it.

The song slowly builds in intensity over the course of its three minutes, bringing the emotional resonance of a classic DMB cut. Years of wear and tear have made Dave’s voice sound halfway broken at times, but here it is as crisp and breathy as you remember when you first heard it. All in all, it’s bound to win over the band’s longtime fans and still has the potential for some serious mainstream success.

Whether re-teaming with Lillywhite can be credited for this DMB resurgence or not is unknown, but either way we certainly are happy to have them back. And if the rest of ‘Away From the World’ manages to maintain this level of excellence, don’t expect another ugly breakup between the group and the producer anytime soon.

Listen to Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Mercy’

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9 out of 10 diffuser.fm rating

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