Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Through the window, there's a snow-covered cornfield slumped against a frozen creek. The bottoms of stalks jut dead brown, up from the ground, still in the rows that they once so proudly made, surviving as best as they could through a trying summer of little drink and unfavorable sunshine. What's great to picture prowling out there, amongst the bare trees and that field, is a lone coyote, with its cold nose to the ground and its lean frame anxiously hoping something red and warm is out there to tear into and dine on.
If all else fails, it'll wait until darkness comes and it will move closer to the farmhouses and barns, looking for some leftover dog food. It's not going to be too picky on days like this one, where it's not terribly cold, but it's cold enough and the food is about as scarce as it comes. Listening to the Suffield, Connecticut band Mercies, on this very day, looking out upon that barren, snowy ridge, it's easy to imagine that desperate coyote, pulling out all the stops just so he doesn't have to bed down in a covering tonight, shivering and with a thunderingly empty belly.
Mercies lead singer, Josh Rheault, writes songs about the fragility of spirit that can make a body shiver, if it's cold or if it isn't. It's just the spirit that operates on good, clean blood, that can't do without it. It's that spirit that moans with growing pains, that aches with a certain draining, a death that's coming down the pike, slowly but surely.
These Mercies songs are concerned with the intangibles and the ways that they work us over. Rheault sings, "Cause we have no idea just what we are doing here/We're animals/And all the same/And we have no idea just what we're supposed to fear/We're animals/And all the same," and it's the perfect excuse to wave it all away. It's the reason that we tend to feel lost. It's the reason that we get our arms so tied up and the reason that our legs and temples throb. We're either running on fumes or we're running for our lives, chasing our tails over that snowy, slumped hill.