The Student Playlist

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REVIEW: Merchandise – ‘A Corpse Wired For Sound’ (4AD)

  • 7/10
    - 7/10


Merchandise’s Anglophile influences are still very much apparent on ‘A Corpse Wired For Sound’, but it’s a stepping stone towards something greater.

The evolution of Tampa Bay rockers Merchandise has been an interesting one to see develop over the years; starting as a post-punk DIY band that revelled in their ability to create walls of sound that were just as indebted to The Smiths and The Cure than they were Fugazi. They’ve since slowly evolved into one of the more interesting groups in the DIY scene because of their penchant for always pushing themselves one step further. In A Corpse Wired For Sound, a title inspired by JG Ballard, the five-piece take on the influence of dub and electronics and the results are the most complete sound Merchandise have ever created.

Opening track ‘Flower Of Sex’ is a great introduction to what the band is about as they mix shoegaze with a psychedelia infusion. The usually dominant vocal of Carson Cox takes a back-step to allow instrumentals to flesh out -the searching riff in amongst the madness almost goes amiss so is the layered bedlam of the track. Their DIY ethics are without question, but the latest evolution in the Merchandise dynamic has seen a visit to the studio for the first time in the band’s history. The trips to the Rosá (Italy) have allowed the group to add a more prominent electronic influence, although the results sometimes miss their mark. The first real attempt, ‘Right Back To The Start’, features plodding melodies and overly simplistic drumming. The sound is borrowed from Yeasayer, but after the initial intrigue the sound is exposed.

The newer electronic influences create more successful results; ‘End Of The Week’ is vicious as the vocals get forced behind the dub and the wall of sound from the guitars. ‘Silence’ uses electronics differently as synths and delicate keys, with bold drums, create a dark sound that belongs to be heard in the dead of night. The contrasting follower, ‘I Will Not Sleep Here’, is a strange contrast as a petite acoustic number evokes Bon Iver tones with the falsetto filled with sadness. It creates one of the better moments on a solid record as the track eventually erupts in a cacophony of riffs, electronics and groove in the bass.

A Corpse Wired For Sound may not be the greatest Merchandise record, but it’s the most ambitious and it’s better for it. From the various electronic infusion to the prominent shoegaze sound, there is something for everyone on this record; their Anglophile influences are still very much apparent, but this is a stepping stone towards something greater. Album number four from Merchandise, when it comes, may just be something special. (7/10) (John Tindale)

Listen to A Corpse Wired For Sound here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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