Merchandise have been playing together for about five years, though this may be the first time you’re hearing of them. Releasing their first self-titled EP in 2009, much can be said about the Tampa, Florida band’s most recent album Children of Desire.
Instinct wants to reference The Smiths or Darklands-era Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo And The Bunnymen, if you like, or maybe a little Nick Cave at their most sinister, but maybe these names come to mind because Merchandise are of a certain caliber.
Consistently pop beats are eroded by swooshing layers of noise, a solemn trail of thought and prominent bass lines. Talk-singing that is delicate and tough in the same breath, the voice of the songs is full of vulnerable fluctuations mixed with a blasé deliverance. “Roser Park” is a knockout for this reason–a calm, defeated defiance weaves into the background of familiar guitar parts, a holy organ underneath these broken croons and percussion like a well oiled drum machine. My bear-trap nostalgia looks fondly at their roots–far away percussion, jangly guitars from “Time” to “Satellite” and even older releases like “What Was Left Behind“. Each song is something you’ve walked in on that made you want to stay.
Children of Desire is full of psychedelic pipedreams that extend and lead the songs back into each other. This may seem like a departure from their earlier releases, which are more obviously bred around the punk scene they developed adjacent to. But their sound matured, the vocals smoothed out (albeit with a Replacement sneer) and came out of the dark to the front of the songs: Merchandise has found its voice.
In contrast to their elusive online presence, when it comes to the actual music you get total access, as they’ve made it available at no cost . There’s is no way to purchase the music physically at this time (maybe from outside retailers), so if you enjoy what you hear and want to make sure Merchandise can play your town, please donate to the band.
Listen to “Time” and “In The Nightmare Room” below, and watch the video for the latter below. Merchandise are currently on tour, playing Home Sweet Home in New York TONIGHT and Saint Vitus on Friday. I won’t miss it for anything.