Taking their name from Bob Dylan's 26th studio album, Australian outfit Oh Mercy also take influence from Dylan's folk-infused rock. Formed in Melbourne by high-school friends Alexander Gow and Thomas Savage, Oh Mercy first came to prominence by winning the 2007 Victoria round of a Triple J Unearthed competition, which found opening acts for the Australian festival Big Day Out. Releasing their debut EP, In the Nude for Love, in 2009, they earned continuous rotation on Triple J's playlist and scored numerous positive reviews for their idiosyncratic mix of indie pop and classic rock. Following up with their self-recorded debut album, Privileged Woes, a few months later, they went on to tour for 18 months, scoring a support slot with Crowded House and making their debut on U.S. soil at the 2010 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Constant touring took its toll on Savage, who decided to quit Oh Mercy a few months before they entered the studio to record their second album, 2011's Great Barrier Grief. With Gow now becoming the principal songwriter, Savage still appeared on the album playing guitar and sharing some songwriting credits. The album earned the band a nomination for an ARIA Award for Best Album from a Breakthrough Artist. Early 2012 saw Oh Mercy complete a mammoth U.S. tour, which ended in Portland, Oregon, to start recording their third album, Deep Heat. Taking songs that Gow had originally written on just a piano, producer Burke Reid (Liam Finn, Holly Throsby) steered Oh Mercy in a direction that they hadn't previously explored. Combining elements of reggae and funk with Gow's timeless songwriting, Deep Heat opened up a new frontier in the group's already forward-thinking take on rock. Over the next couple of years, Gow spent time in the U.S. contemplating his next move and writing the material that would eventually become 2015's When We Talk About Love, the band's fourth LP. ~ Richard Wilson