Total 80s darkwave revival from these Florida rockers. Although 4AD is no longer the goth stronghold it once was, Merchandise manage to keep the label’s early goth roots still alive. One of my favorite releases of the year. RIYL darkwave, theatrics, early 4AD, Siouxsie/Sisters of Mercy/Echo & the Bunnymen
1. (4:54) ***** Flower of Sex—Sisters of Mercy goth stomper. Washes of dreamy reverbed guitar, cataclysmic drums, tortured baritone. Takes you down in its all-consuming abyss. SONG OF THE YEAR
2. (4:00) Crystal Cage—Slow, dense, somber with very new wave synth and guitar patterns.
3. (4:16) *** Right Back to the Start—Sorrowful crooning vox, bubbling subdued synths, beautiful.
4. (4:12) **** End of the Week—Melancholy, cavernous drums and reverb-heavy guitars. About the hurt of existing in the inexorable forward motion of life. WARNING: ends suddenly.
5. (4:16) Lonesome Sound—Earnest plea masked in a pop song. Echoes of the After the End sound. Punchy drums, droney distorted guitars, propulsive beat.
6. (5:12) **** Shadow of the Truth—More goth greatness, ringing guitars, reverb, vocals hit a falsetto at times. Eerie atmospheric detour about three and a half minutes in before returning to the apocalyptic groove. This reminds me of those goth music conventions they have in SF. You can’t not dance to this!
7. (5:08) Silence—Fractured synths, overpowering, loud, so 80s it hurts. This would sound amazing live.
8. (6:47) **** I Will Not Sleep Here—Taking another cue from After the End with the token semi-acoustic track. Shows off the vocalist’s range well. Revs up at the halfway point with electric guitars and synths. Triumphant, redemptive, would have been an epic closer.
9. (4:23) My Dream is Yours—Erratic synths and multiple layers of drowned-out vox, motorik, reminds me of Future Islands.