Ultra Vivid Scene: Mercy Seat

Mercy Seat

4AD 1989.  BAD906


This single was, I think, the pinnacle of Kurt Ralske’s musical career.  This is a re-recording of the song, the original being on his debut album where it stood head and shoulders above the rest of what was an excellent album.  This much longer version gains most of the extra time from an extended intro which builds to the song itself over around three minutes.  Normally these things are just padding to justify the 12″ format, but here the majesty of the song, both lyrically and musically needs this build-up to really work its magic.  There’s less guitar distortion here than in the original, but more delicate meandering around the melody which gives the track a fragility which suits it.  The mesmerising bass line is still much in evidence though.  Somewhat surprisingly a very young Moby plays guitar on this.

The single includes the album version of the track as a closer and a couple of exclusives, which while completely overshadowed by the title track are well worth hearing.

  1. “notworthy”

  2. This is everything you say, but to my ears, the only good thing Ralske ever did. I remember when the college radio station I worked for got this single in, I was awed by it. It was the first thing on 4AD that I had ever liked, I went out and got the 12″ and album and was heavily disappointed. Oh well.

  3. I’ve always said about music that if something is brilliantly done, the genre doesn’t matter, someone who cares for music will love it. I like 4AD and Ralske anyway, so it was no surprise that I really rate this single. That you like it shows how truly great it is.

  4. Televise did (IMO) a killer cover of this song. on their “Songs To Sing In A & E” MLP.

  5. Never heard that. Do you have a copy? I’d be interested to hear it.

Comments are closed.