Hasten Mercy, the solo project of Michael Baker of neo-new wave outfit Head Fake, unveils the music video, “These Things,” via Global Heist Recordings/Neurodisc Records.
Raised in a musical family in Toronto, Michael grew up listening to an eclectic array of music, including Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, the Smiths, and Depeche Mode. Michael and his siblings would sing multi-part harmonies along with songs on the radio while in the car. Songwriting followed soon after.
Later, Michael appeared on CBC/Radio-Canada’s Ontario Pop, followed by going to law school and working 18-hour days in New York. He hadn’t forgotten about music, singing his young daughters to sleep and spending time in his home studio.
He began playing in local bands. Before long, he was producing for his daughter, Chloe, who was part of Bitter’s Kiss and scoring the film, The Divorce Party. A friendship with Tom O’Keefe of Neurodisc Records led to collaborating on and publishing his songs, including releases as The Regency.
Tom connected Michael with Ivan and James. Michael and James got together at Michael’s New Jersey studio for an impulsive recording session, resulting in the song “One Step.” The two approached Ivan, who immediately embraced the project, and Head-Fake was born.
Hasten Mercy provides Michael with an outlet for his diverse musical influences, including new wave, pop, and folk/country.
“These Things” rolls out on low-slung dark pulsations, riding a measured rhythm. Michael’s voice conjures up memories of Herman’s Hermits covering Depeche Mode or Joy Division, only more haunting.
After a throbbing shift, the tune takes on chiming sparkles, giving the tune gleaming tones, offsetting the melancholic timbres of Michael’s voice.
The video, shot in black and white, depicts a sad young woman riding a train, lost in introspective thoughts. Slo-mo visuals give the images an elusive, desolate loneliness amid a crowd of people.
Echoing with emotional gloom, “These Things” offers a hypnotic palpitating rhythm, like a beating heart, topped by shadowy new wave surfaces.