I've not heard of Merchandise before but here they are with their third album. Its been mixed by Gareth Jones who produced Depeche Mode's 'Berlin Trilogy' of albums. Everyone has a Berlin trilogy these days. Anyway Merchandise are a typically moody lot. From the little I've heard I'm thinking of Interpol, early Killers and the like. The singer is wearing a nice shade of lipstick - it really suits him.
Anyway here, they've been joined by extra members. Chris Horn does what his name suggests and plays sax as well as other things. According to what is written in the NME this is a much more pop based album than previous efforts. They are sick of faffing about with arty stuff and are now coming for your dollar. The initial LP pressing will be on green vinyl you know.
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There used to be a rubbish "folktronic" pop duo called Merchandise. Their sleeves were so dreadful I used to shake with rage every time I had to pick one from the stockroom. Who designed this super uber mega crap I asked myself. Why the dullest name ever? It happened all the time. Sleeves and band names I care about more than the music sometimes. I read about these boys the other day and thought they sounded really fucking boring. Another band so inspired as to to call themselves Merchandise? Guess what? They're worse than I imagined.
Yes, this is one of the big key releases of the week and it goes and opens with the most soporific, turgid, empty take on mid-paced arena indie, one inspired by the jangly arse-end of the 80s staffed by third rate bands in thrall to The Smiths but with more in common with Lloyd Cole. His voice is absolutely awful, a bland muffled flat moany mess that has no real passion, soul or depth. It's like your plumber singing, kinda wailing along with his eyes screwed shut. It doesn't pick up from there, they even try to get funky on 'Little Killer' but it ends up sounding utterly embarrassing with some misjudged guitar licks of the timbre that makes me dangerously annoyed and subsequently kill baby rabbits in a vice.
Call PC Plod, this band are clogging up the R'n'R highway like a sloth with diarrhoea. This is actually the kind of music that I'd call the police to have forcibly removed from my house. I simply cannot believe that 4AD have put their name to this insipid semi-acoustic abomination, totally beyond redemption, devoid of character. At their best they resemble the worst of what Wild Beasts are capable of. How 'After The End' could actually capture anybody's imagination is beyond me. I'm gritting my teeth in order to stay awake. I'd like to say "sorry" but I'm only sorry I've had to endure the fucker.
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- After The End by Merchandise
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