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MRCY deliver a bluesy bouquet on "Flowers in Mourning"

12 March 2024, 18:00 | Written by Thomas Turner

New duo MRCY (Kojo Degraft-Johnson, Barney Lister) are staking their claim on the frontiers of contemporary funk, perfuming latest track "Flowers in Mourning" with elements of Afrobeats, psychedelia, and Northern Soul.

Grief is a world shattering thing, and to love and lose unavoidable facts of life. Through the aching longing and lament, however, always lies the happy memories - a respite in the remembrance, one golden strand cutting through the noise. New duo MRCY, comprising producer Barney Lister and vocalist Kojo Degraft-Johnson, bring that idea to sound on latest track "Flowers in Mourning", acting as both a broader meditation on the beauty intertwined within the blues and also a personal ode to Kojo's late grandmother.

'The opening voice is my Mum singing a song that my Grandmother wrote for my family as a kind of fun nursery rhyme to sing to the kids," Kojo explains. "All my family know it. My Grandmother is no longer with us and when I think about her I feel a mix of joy and sadness. ‘Flowers In Mourning’ is also about the loss of things that kept you at peace, and it reflects on the state of our surroundings that contribute to feeling like shit mentally."

A hotpot of influences, "Flowers in Mourning" sprawls with notes of jazz and psychedelia, and is as tinged in shadow as it is vibrant and bouncing. Nodding to Kojo's Ghanian heritage the track infuses a propulsive Afrobeats line with the elements of dub and Northern Soul that Barney was raised on - as such the product is undeniably a sum of both parties.

Whilst the former made his name singing in the Church scene and connecting with artists like Little Simz and Cleo Sol, the latter has produced in knockout collaborations with Obongjayar and Joy Crookes. After connecting over Instagram through the pandemic, MRCY was born in Brixton and made through the boys' unabashed determination to get heads turning to their fresh take on classical sounds. In the vein of the greats like Marvin Gaye, but with the intimately contemporary feel of artists like Childish Gambino, they have set out on an artistic mission to deliver "soul through the looking glass."

Only the second single into their creation, the duo are already firmly stamping their brand on the frontiers of new-age funk. Debut release "Lorelai", which arrived earlier this year, bustled with crooning lyrics and bluesy riffs. Now, "Flowers in Mourning" only enhances the resolution of the striking picture we are building of their upcoming body of work.

"Flowers in Mourning" is out now. Find MRCY on Instagram.

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