The Dukes of Hillsborough side of this record seems unfocused. It's sort of emo, sort of pop-punk, very late-era Bouncing Souls. There's not much bite to it, but it seems like their goal is to be more introspective and toned-down than to really put a lot of umph into their songs. Actually, their side of the record is really most dissapointing to me because it's one of those cases where I read the lyrics before I listened to the songs and got really excited, because there's a lot going lyrically, but the music fails to provide the right backdrop for it. The first of their two songs, "Spider Rico", is a great jab at the jaded "cool guy" complex in the whole punk/subcultural scene that's written in a serious tone, but succeeds in bringing a sense of humor to the subject ("I'd rather see the move that they emulate"). The second song, "Reinventing Axl Foley", is an obvious jab at Against Me!, and again provides insightful lyrics in a unique candor, but musically seems uninspired. The vocal delivery is all one level, sort of a groaning almost-yell that doesn't draw attention to the lyrics, which isn't doing them justice.
The Mercury League succeed where the Dukes of Hillsborough fall short. The lyrics are still pointed and inspired, but the music is spot-on, with a much more developed style and a lot more going on. The guitar work is constantly changing, and there's not much in the way of song structure. I love bands that are able to write material that's free flowing, almost like it sounds improvised, but stay on target.
I got the half red/half clear version, limited to 250 copies. There is also a red/black swirl version, also limited to 250 copies. As you can see, there is no cover art. The record comes in a heavy plastic jacket with a two sided insert with lyrics and basic liner notes. It's very efficient, but it looks nice.
The Dukes of Hillsborough on MySpace
The Mercury League on MySpace
Buy it from Accident Prone