You thought those Illinois emo wonderkids who called themselves
Braid had elected to go their separate ways, but in truth, they've just reinvented themselves as Hey Mercedes. Actually, Hey Mercedes is only three-fourths Braid veterans: evidently vocalist/guitarist Bob Nanna, drummer Damon Atkinson, and bassist Todd Bell decided they missed each other, because they all moved to Milwaukee, where they recruited second guitarist Mark Dawursk, and so it came to pass that Hey Mercedes was born. Unsurprisingly, Hey Mercedes sounds like the offspring of Braid. The songs are anthemic and inspiringly forceful: the energy of the group's staccato bass-and-guitar rhythms could power a small city indefinitely. Two huge guitars soar over this foundation while Nanna puts everything he's got into his big, brash grownup-adolescent voice, each word he utters even more earnest than the one before. Hey Mercedes's first self-titled EP, featuring "Bells," is available on Polyvinyl.