Band: Hasten Mercy: Musician: Michael Baker

EP: Self-Titled; Global Heist Recordings; Released: September 24, 2021

Reflecting on passionate life experiences and relatable emotions is often the perfect way for musicians to create a moody, insightful narrative in songs of any genre. That’s certainly the case for singer-songwriter Michael Baker, who recently released his self-titled, three track electronic pop EP under his newly formed solo project, Hasten Mercy.

On his latest project, the Head Fake band member reflects on his musical and personal journeys over the past quarter century to craft stunning lyric-driven melodies. Baker intertwined electronic pop vocals and instrumentals with elements of New Wave, folk and country to create relatable tunes that won’t soon be forgotten. Inspired by several of his childhood musical influences, including Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin and Depeche Mode, Baker isn’t afraid to show his true emotions on unique songs that make bold statements about love, loss and people chasing their dreams.

The Hasten Mercy EP begins with the energetic entry, ‘Star You Are,’ which is driven by an animated backbeat-synth piano, dynamic percussion kicks and a pulsating beat. Taking inspiration from synth pop projects as Tame Impala and Washed Out, Baker croons about the need for people to stay positive as they contend with the consequences of all their sacrifices. He also encourages his listeners to face their fears and follow their dreams in uplifting, inspirational vocals.

‘Star You Are’ is followed by the EP’s middle track, These Things,’ which features slower vocals and instrumental beats. Reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ signature musical sound, Baker emotionally chronicles the beginning stages of a relationship and being unsure of whether or not to call the person he’s interested in pursuing. On the best tune on the collection of songs, the singer croons about his fears of pursuing love in atmospheric, layered vocals, which are supported by single key lines. The ballad’s harmony reveals his unease, which is powerfully supported by a snap-accented beat, warm synths and a fingerpicked guitar.

Hasten Mercy’s eponymous EP ends with the equally soulful, melodic piano-based entry, ‘I Break Everything.’ The closing song, which is features emotions vocals that are anchored in relatable heartbreak and sadness, is a classic break-up ballad. Baker expressively claims that he doesn’t want to hurt the person he loves, and instead wants to spare his partner the heartbreak he’s caused in previous relationships. Driven by nostalgic electric piano keys and soft drums, he further croons about his record of misdeeds, in a perfect sense of enlightened self-awareness.

Reflecting on emotional, relatable life experiences and connections is often the perfect way to create a moody, insightful narrative in tracks of any genre. That’s certainly the case for Baker on his recently released self-titled Hasten Mercy EP.

On his latest project, the singer-songwriter reflects on his musical and personal journeys over the past quarter century to craft stunning lyric-driven melodies. Baker expertly intertwined electronic pop vocals and instrumentals with elements of New Wave, folk and country to create engaging tunes that make bold statements about love, loss and people chasing their dreams.

For more information on Baker, visit his Spotify page.

The cover for Hasten Mercy’s self-titled electronic pop EP.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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