Whether we want life to be our idealized version of what could be or not, it’s often the case that things can be disappointing, or loss hits us in ways we didn’t fathom, or saw coming but couldn’t avoid. A lot of the worst things are personal, and while attempts can be made to share those moments of time in order to better them, even that can be difficult sometimes. The crew of Mercury Dimes understands all of this well, and in their first full album, “Broken Down Everything”, the issues that seek to claim us all are tackled hard in what comes off as both reflective and self-realized, even if the outcome is slightly painful.
Within its punk-rock leanings, “Broken Down Everything” takes the intangible feeling of being worn and tries to translate it as best as possible, and does an incredibly good job of it down to the last track. Not zeroing in on a single thought or emotion, the album instead takes from a spectrum of grays and utilizes each song to cover a particular problem or feeling, and comes off very self-aware in doing so.
Starting from the first track, listeners can already gauge that the scenes painted by each set of lyrics are places they’ve been before, in one way or another. “Tomorrow’s Responsibilities” makes that plainly clear in reciting the constant battle of procrastination beat-for-beat, showing at the same time how easy it is to get trapped in that loop of pushing life aside till the time feels right. “Drivin'” follows with a similar feeling, taking a familiar journey of the daily grind and looks deep into the self-doubt that manifests occasionally for the speaker, asking openly what the point of it is (And I Said- My, My, I/Have No Faith in Your Time, I/ Think It’s Wasted By What I Do).
Each song is important in its own right in expressing the overall gloom that covers the album, but in a way that, by the end of each track, gives relief by being able to relate to those feelings. “Don’t Joke”, while tackling anxiety at the start through the imagery of not fitting into a group conversation, even breaks the 4th wall for a moment at the end to tell the audience none of these scenarios or feelings are unique (“You Think You’re The Only One, But I/ Assure You/ It’s All Been Done/ Before.“). In a slight turn to engage the issue of expectations, either from the weight of others or from the self, “Bottom Of The Sea” gives light to what might help a situation with too many moving parts (“So Let’s/Just Freeze/In Place./Take Notice of Our Mistakes.”), before dropping what is both easier to do but makes things much worse in the final set of lyrics, almost ironically stating what many of us actually end up doing instead.
One of the complete standouts on the album falls right in the middle of it. “Wool” is stripped down quite a bit on chords, and in doing to makes sure that listeners pay close attention to the speaker in what is an honest, brutal, and raw rant. It isn’t hard to pick up how personal this particular track is from start to finish, even in the parts that can’t help but create a smile, whether that be taking a bat to the car while at work or the subtle things we think about subconsciously in order not to fall in an open hole. What fuels the song though is the image of covering that many put on themselves in order to get through the day, and what lies beneath the surface while the world sees what it wants to (or doesn’t).
The rest of the album peers into several other open windows of the soul, with “My Name Is Alice” taking on the loss of control and the relinquishing of it against the will of the world around us, “Tired Of Screaming” and “Take Care” speaking on the struggle brought on by exhaustion where screaming into the void is the only thing left and the loss of support or being heard in lieu of short-lived niceties from other people, and “Peanuts” looking on the outside and in, both economic and personally, in an effort to hope for better. The last track, “Dirty Palms”, takes everything already said and asks the listener where they would prefer to be at the end of life, all while the speaker gives their own answer.
“Broken Down Everything” is an airing out of issues, grievances, and rants brought on by a life well-lived along with the problems that come with it. Since 2014, the Mercury Dimes, consisting of Laura Staples performing both on Vocals and Guitar, Wesley Mauldin on Bass, and Nathan Curlee on Drums, has worked towards the 2021 album release, as listeners can follow as far back as 2016 to hear a few of the raw tracks that would come to be a part of the 10-song collection.
Ultimately, it feels better to know that there’s someone in the room that knows what you’re going through then to feel the trappings of a lonely problem. As the debut full album from the trio, there’s never a question from start to finish whether the band wants to connect to their audience. Instead, our three musicians reach out their hands, and with each song, tell listeners simply that they’re not alone, and that’s more than anyone can ask for.
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