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Album Review

Merchandise – A Corpse Wired For Sound


Merchandise have tapped into a sea of potential, and are plain sailing to brand new heights.

Label: 4AD
Released: 23rd September 2016

Rating: ★★★★

A decade into their career Merchandise are still finding themselves through possibilities untrodden. The Tampa outfit’s new album embodies this vitality from its title right through its very core. ‘A Corpse Wired For Sound’ is the sound of a band discovering their purpose anew. Stripped back to the bare elements of their core three-piece, void of location (recorded between Tampa, Italy, New York, and Berlin), the record strings together the groups defining elements and makes them universal.

The album has its share of darkness. ‘Right Back To The Start’ pounds with the unfailingly steady heartache of re-treading roads already travelled. ‘End Of The Week’ beats with a similar pulse, lamenting the frivolous nature of romance. Lead single ‘Flower Of Sex’ showcases the group at their strongest, vocals resounding through a tapestry of sound that continuously evolves and dissolves.

Sombre though this all may seem, the record offers no shortage of euphoria. ‘Flower Of Sex’ might be singing of solitude, but the track’s rich texture is alive with a promise that’s ripe for exploration. ‘I Will Not Sleep Here’ takes the guise of an emotive ballad, celebrating the delight (albeit with the transience too) of sharing a unique bond with someone in life. ‘My Dream Is Yours’ is perhaps the group’s most stratospheric offering to date.

“Won’t you be here? I have so much more to give to you,” the band express on the album’s closing number. It’s less a statement of intent, and more a wide-eyed proclamation. Embracing the world at their feet Merchandise have tapped into a sea of potential, and are plain sailing to brand new heights. Jessica Goodman