Posts Tagged ‘A Quality of Mercy’

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“Tight, incisive, post-punk/retro-pop infused with a liberal dose of downcast catharsis, confessional lyrics and down-right infectious hooks.”

The first single from RVG’s debut album ‘A Quality Of Mercy’ released in October 2017 via Our Golden Friend / Island Records. The Melbourne-based band RVG’s latest single is a broadside at the people who leave ignorant and disrespectful comments under online news stories. You already know the type. The ones that leave you despairing for humanity and wondering who hurt them. On “A Quality Of Mercy,” vocalist Romy Vager (the band’s initials stand for Romy Vager Group), puts it simply: “Staring at the ceiling, feeling numb. Thinking of the readers of the Herald Sun.”

Her literate and witty lyrics, teamed with earworm melodies, call to mind both The Fall and Courtney Barnett. Together with her band mates, seen playing to an empty ballroom in the video premiering above, RVG creates a similarly idiosyncratic and knotty mix of hook-filled indie rock.

Vager explained that the song was prompted by a major news story in her home country.

“It was loosely inspired by the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015 and how angry I was that a lot of middle class Australians thought that the death penalty for drug charges was a fair punishment. A lot of people were writing things like ‘Well if you do the time, you do the crime’ in the comments section of news articles. I wanted to challenge those dangerous right wing idioms and stress the need for perspective and empathy in what is very quickly becoming a much meaner world.”


A Quality of Mercy is the debut album from Melbourne band RVG—an acronym for “Romy Vager Group,” honoring namesake singer-songwriter, Romy Vager. The album was self-released quietly in early 2017, and is full of songs that are imaginative, passionate, and witty. Sometimes they’re sad and raw, too. But at their core, all of the songs—which are inspired by bands like Echo and The Bunnymen and The Go-Betweens. The LP is an eight-track collection of tight, incisive post-punk/retro-pop infused with a liberal dose of downcast catharsis, confessional lyrics and downright infectious hooks.

The roots of the music on A Quality of Mercy began taking shape when Vager moved to Melbourne from the South Australian city of Adelaide in 2004. She was 17 at the time, and she hadn’t come out as transgender yet.

“I’d just started dating someone, a friend from high school, and I said to them, ‘Do you want to move to Melbourne?’ And a week later, we were in Melbourne. I spent probably five years after that just trying to keep afloat, in varying degrees of poverty.

While A Quality of Mercy touches on the challenges of being trans, Vager says it’s not a strong theme as much as “an underlying current. A lot of the songs were about re-evaluating things and moving things about.” She refers to a line in Rowland S. Howard’s 1999 song “Dead Radio”: “‘What to ignite and what to extinguish’—I had that running through my head,” she says. All the songs are striking in their own way, and Vager certainly hadn’t anticipated their positive reception.