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Here’s an album from Merchandise on Night People, with the label’s usual ace Shawn Reed artwork, and the Florida post-punkers immersing themselves in a woozy mogadon ‘80s guitar pop with soaring guitar solos and keening vocals, country ballads and modern noise splatter. It comes across like a mixture of British bands like the Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen with more modern treatments of ‘80s sounds like Clark & McGuire’s ‘Inner Tube’, Horrid Red and Sapphire Slows.
In ‘I’ll Be Gone’ they slow to some Lambchop-esque balladeering, complete with strings and vocal harmonies but tempered by a gritty drifting lead guitar line which crackles emotively over the smooth Americana to give it a S ND Y P RL RS-ish sense of distant longing. It’s sad and lovely but does slow the momentum somewhat, only for the title track to burst in with pounding drums, churning guitar riffs and sax skronk with crooning vocals for a wildly fun jam that’s like QOTSA mixed with ‘Fun House’ Stooges, the silky smoothness of the singing weirdly offset by the relentless, angular darkness of the band in that sweet-and-sour kind of way like Party of Helicopters and Shudder To Think.
Closer ‘Winter’s Dream’ slows the pace once again for a drum machine driven synth soul ballad which brings to mind Patrick Wolf and Future Islands. I think this LP’s a mixed bag and am keener on the faster paced, more freeform numbers but there’s a very listenable and often anarchic approach to the ‘80s pop aesthetic throughout.
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