Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: NMERCER - Crossroads EP

It’s the rare individual who finds that a move to South Central in Los Angeles will serve as a creative point of inspiration but for rising artist NMERCER, that’s just what happened.

Originally hailing from Vashon, a small island near Seattle, NMERCER was raised on the expected fare from that region, citing influences like Joan Osborne and Alice in Chains alongside more eclectic choices like the Pharcyde, Beastie Boys, The Doors, Björk, Easy E, NWA, and Too $hort. A move to Los Angeles found her eventually searching out and moving to South Central due to the more affordable rent and stumbling upon a new community of friends and artists.
“For the first time since I moved to LA, I felt like I was part of a community,” she shares. “The guys on the block were all rappers or musical in some way or another. They’d would bring by sick beats and ask me to sing hooks on them.”

Soon, in moments of privacy, NMERCER took to writing her own songs, a new experience for the artist.
“It was the first time I wrote music where I felt like I had a sound and voice. I think it came out real because I made those songs for no one but myself,” she explains.

Those experiences and those songs have fueled a burst of creativity in the artist and she’s released a rapid fire set of releases with her self-titled debut, a remix album, and the Crossroads EP. Those recordings have found her enjoying favorable comparisons to artists like MIA, Missy Elliott, Ke$ha, and Gwen Stefani, and the Crossroads EP gives a good indication why.
Produced by Justin Lassen, who’s done remixes for artists like Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, Apocalyptica, and Evanescence, the EP features four songs of NMERCER’s signature style. That style is a combination of hip hop grooves, electro-pop vibes, and plenty of EDR fills, all informed by the artist’s versatile vocals.

The title track kicks things off with plenty of electronic-fueled distortion, kicking programmed drums holding the beat while NMERCER drops her flow, her delivery somewhat slow and dreamy as her vocals mix things up with some added effects. The lyric is an encouraging one, the protagonist of the song standing at a crossroads and making the decision to push ahead and make a change.
“Steal It” keeps the positive vibes rolling as the artist sings, “Move/Dance/Now’s the chance/Go/Hard/Let down that guard/You’re in the spotlight/C’mon, steal it” while surrounded by an electronica-infused sonic backdrop that flows into a full-fledged radio-ready jam. NMERCER’s vocals are in full effect, the swelling music only giving her more energy while “Why U Gotta B So Fine” is something of a disappointment. True, the track does have a Ke$ha feel but after hearing the artist’s solid vocals on the preceding tracks, her nasal delivery and subpar lyricism just leaves one wanting.

Thankfully, NMERCER’s final track “DB” steps in and rights those wrongs. Sultry, sexy vocals and an old school feeling jam, complete with huge bass notes that propel the track forward, buoyed by a bright horn section in the chorus give the track bonus life. Singing of dropping a lover, the artist brings a sense of playfulness to the song, her rhyming legit and infused with a smile.
All in all, NMERCER’s Crossroads EP showcases a young artist who’s bursting at the seams with talent and has the potential to break out into the big time. Granted, there’s still work to be done but with NMERCER’s creative output and her star shining bright, the sky’s the limit for this promising new act.

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