Planet Mercury’s new EP crashes down on you like a rogue wave, and it’s refreshing as hell.

It’s a warm evening in the summer of 2003. You’ve been riding bikes and swimming all day until  the streetlights come on and your mom calls you in for dinner. You sit down by the TV, playing Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 with your older brother at your childhood home in suburbia, shoveling a pouch of Gushers into your mouth as you wrangle the controller and try to beat him. You don’t have a care in the world—no job, no homework, just the dog days of summer sprawling out ahead of you. For me, these are the blissful memories that came to mind after hearing the first riff on Rhode Island band Planet Mercury’s EP, None In A Million. Packed with punk melodies, smooth harmonization, and wistful, warm tones in their vocals and lyrics, None In A Million washes over you like a wave of nostalgia for the easier days of the early 2000s.

Channeling a gritty, hard punk tone akin to Bodyjar and infused with the strong guitar work of rock band Oasis (specifically, Noel Gallagher’s catchy instrumental hooks from Be Here Now’s “Stay Young”), None In A Million storms in with “Cynical Serenade,” the first track on the album. Frontman Jerry Picard’s smooth, enticing tone gets straight to the point: “My life’s a mess but I smile for the camera / I’ll kill them with a smile / Have you wrapped up in denial.” The sardonic lyrics – delivered by an exasperated, self-conscious narrator that’s irritated at the world around him – are strung together with strong, catchy punk-infused guitar hooks that could fit as the soundtrack of a skateboarding documentary, with a slow instrumental breakdown toward the end that is the highlight. The lyrical honesty presented by the narrator sets the album’s theme of aggravation and cynicism of society, and its slowed-down guitar hooks put emphasis his the words. By entangling them together, it’s by far the catchiest track on the album.

Often, skater punk has a predilection for sounding similar, but the lyrical and chord progressions on None In A Million escape this trend. Each song offers a unique story and a clever string of aggressive guitar work with vocals that you want to blare from your boombox while skateboarding in the summer heat.

Thickheaded” (which conjures up some serious Sum 41 “Fat Lip” vibes) is a basket case’s love song: “Right now I’m snapping up inside / I check my pulse am I still alive / I’m running out of things to say to you.” It’s endearing, it’s punky – this track sounds like a paranoid, caffeine-driven punk song about the pursuit of a romantic partner, with the narrator constantly doubting and beating himself up. As the song comes to a close, Picard’s voice grows softer and calm, nearly speaking, as he says:

“Have I become somebody else / My time with you is running out / I can’t seem to find my way out / Because this life is ripping me to shreds.”

In the background of the slowed-down lyrics Picard harmonizes, adding a ghostly aura to the track, appropriately juxtaposed with the theme of haunting self-doubt. It’s raw and it’s honest—Planet Mercury showcases the best of punk without falling into monotony.

Burn,” the next track on the album (and one of the shorter ones that is jam packed with heavy, head-banging inducing riffs), offers a kind of “sequel” to “Thickheaded”– the narrator from the previous track “will never learn” after his partner has wronged him. The narrator’s wistful, disgruntled views on the failed relationship (“There’s not a thing I’d rather do / Than to be dragged down by you”) flows well with an upbeat selection of chord progressions and fast-paced powerful drums that are echoed  with “hey!” It’s an anthem for those who feel like they are always the ones keeping up a relationship, that they’re the ones who give more.

The last few tracks on the album, like the titular “None In A Million,” “Ginger’s Nightmare,” and “I’ll Thank Me Later,” offer stories of their own, painted with that dreamy tone and lyrics from another time, of another era of music.

Planet Mercury’s new EP crashes down on you like a rogue wave, and it’s refreshing as hell. It’s a record that will make you bob your head, smile, and turn the record up a little louder. The nostalgia that None In A Million conjures is an energizing, sweet reminder of the days when things were a bit simpler.

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