Planes Mistaken For Stars
The Casket Lottery
Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, Planes Mistaken for Stars are no rookies to the heavy rock scene. The band has been playing on and off since 1997. While at first listen the vocals may seem a bit caustic as you listen to the album more and more you get the tonality and unique craft of the lead singer Gared O'Donnell.
Gared O'Donnell – guitar, vocals
Mike Ricketts – drums
Chuck French – guitar
Neil Keener – bass
The music on Mercy is tightly wound and unsettling. Overall the album has an early 90s hard rock appeal along with some subtle math rock elements. There is a religious theme throughout where demons and sanctity collide.
1. One Fucked Pony - This is a grinding track with good build vocals actually remind us of Eddie Vedder early years doing why go home. You can hear the strain and pain in his voice as it's a true struggle to get out sound.
2. Crooked Mile - At about the one minute 30 mark the song takes a favorable turn into a nice simple release an interesting tempos.
3. Widow I Love Song - This feels like it's going to be a longer song was quite the story to tell but it ends abruptly somewhat neutral mediocre track.
4. Keep Your Teeth - The softer vocals and whispering remind us a bit of Marilyn Manson at about 2 1/2 minute mark this song really break down nicely into interesting rhythm.
5. To Spit a Sparrow - Our favorite track off the album perhaps the most heartfelt track with the percussion becomes clearer and overall production seems much stronger we enjoy the contrast and range within this track.
6. Never Felt Prettier - A concise track with one of the stronger melodic moments on the album.
7. Killed By Killer to Kill Each Other - Not sure we get the title here nor the theme but overall this is a pretty solid track. Heartfelt vocals with some great doom fretwork. Very nice contrast and change-ups within the track.
8. Little Death - Highlight on this track is the aerial attack of swirling guitar work. Particularly in the last minute we hear the Nudeswirl likely guitar work hovering overhead.
9. Church Date - Dark and despondent lyrics dominate this track... "Son of a bitch, it seems the Lord has split, the preacher he's cracking, the crippled they're fasting, The tent is on fire, the tent is on fire, the tent is on fire... "The vocals fit well and certainly take an even darker turn from here on out.
Mercy - the title track perhaps the most melodic track on the album. One of the most poignant moments on the album is at about the 1:15 mark where layered vocals kick in and a stillness climbs into a slow build that eventually levels off leading into the closing track Penitence... providing an acoustic melodramatic ending. "Be not afraid" resonates as the listener obtains some closure and reconciliation to the religious disharmony that is Mercy.
This is a solid album that is worth your time if you are looking for some nostalgic 90s hard rock that melds post hardcore elements. Perhaps this may be the album that can turn some more heads and get this veteran crew some more recognition. - 9/8/2015
Standout Tracks: To Spit a Sparrow