Gliding over a bubbling, sparkling instrumentation, Joseph of Mercury has a gorgeous vocal style that recalls bands like The Smiths or Gene – a veritable crooner with indelible style. His new single ‘Pretty Blonde Boy’ was born out of grief for the loss of two friends:
Two of my oldest, closest & dearest friends, both taken too young and barely years apart. If there is a word beyond ‘brother’ then that’s what they were. Love just wasn’t enough to balance out all that they carried on their shoulders. Their losses were devastating, breaking me in a way that I’m not sure will ever heal. It was in such eerie succession. They were mirrors of one another, both drawn into this senseless and tragic spiral of prescription pain meds and heroin, combined with fentanyl. Often the brightest lights go out the fastest.
Joseph of Mercury – a rather mysterious and enigmatic figure hailing from Toronto – has a voice that exudes a melancholy timbre – a rich, sonorous style like some late night crooner in a dark and smoky bar, rending hearts in two with an arched style and a Brechtian pose. The instrumentation sparkles – an electronic throb drives the pace underneath the vocals with chiming, sparkling guitars making sonic splashes.
There are those you will only know for a short time, cos bright lights burn faster
This is statuesque and elegiac – there is a profound beauty in the message and the music:
Overwhelmed with grief, I recorded the vocal performance in-between tears & clenched fists. As time passed and I gained a resigned joy and acceptance among the sadness, ‘Pretty Blonde Boy’ began to like an open road, rolling hills… the sun rising, or maybe setting, with that warm magic hour glow & a cool breeze, driving with nowhere to be. In tribute and memorial, for those burdened with pain or crisis, this is a testament to trying to be okay again. To find beauty, appreciation & gratitude in what feels hurtful, hollowing & unfair.
Feature Photograph: Joachim Johnson