Merchandise - After The End
Whenever you hear Merchandise you’ll hear the word 'punk' - don’t let that fool you. The members of the Tampa band may have individually been grounded in the punk scene, but as a collective their final product couldn’t really be any more removed from that sound. They’ve also expanded their number from the tight knit trio of the previous, lower key, albums to a looser but more expansive five piece. The single ‘Enemy’ and its baggy slackness may have given you an idea what to expect on After The End, but slow burn instrumental opener ‘Corridor’, with its whimsical prog rock stylings, really starts to give you some kind of preparation for what’s to follow.
With the addition of Chris Horn on keys there's a definite leaning towards more retro pop than previous efforts; ‘Green Lady’ sounds more 80s than Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice theme (not a bad thing it has to be said) and more period jaunty rock follows with ‘Telephone’. Lead single ‘Little Killer’ neatly summarises the album in one handy track: it’s good but not great, held back by a lack of edge. ‘True Monument’ slips by on its riff, the title track is a bit too plodding, before ‘Exile and Ego’ ends things quietly. Like 2014’s other paean to 80s music, this is the complex, poppy Axel Foley to War On Drugs’s more beefy, rock-like John Rambo.