Merchandise - After The End

I’ve already written at some length about Merchandise’s upcoming LP, After The End, and most of my analysis of the album can be broken into three component pieces: stunned, breathless praise; biographical details; and overall sound. Regarding that last component, rather than try to rephrase what I’ve already written, I’ll just reprint a couple sentences verbatim:

This thing would shuffle seamlessly into a playlist featuring the greatest hits and choicest deep cuts from bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, the Thompson Twins, the Housemartins, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, David Sylvian … (I keep thinking to myself that this album is to John Hughes soundtracks what the War On Drugs’ similarly breathtaking Lost In The Dream is to ’80s boomer rock.)

All of After The End has that atavistic feel, but perhaps no track more prominently than the devastating “Green Lady,” which layers downy synths like feather pillows atop a springy king-size mattress of cascading guitars; the song is probably best characterized by its retro percussion elements: wood-block “pock-pock-pocks” and massive “In The Air Tonight” fills. Here, frontman Carson Cox is more Roland Orzabal or Richard Butler than Morrissey (his most obvious influence elsewhere). Cox plumbs the bass notes with a crooner’s dexterity, he stretches his syllables like watermelon Bubble Yum, but when he yelps in his upper register just for a sec right around the 3:00 mark, it’s a hot-pink outburst summoning gray sheets of rain in all their cinematic, melodramatic fury. The whole thing is sinfully lush — louche, even — and it could play like pastiche if not for its impeccable songcraft: This is moody, depressive stuff, as deadly serious as its influences, and every bit as good.

I loved After The End instantly, and over the last month or so since first hearing it in full, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, maybe the best. Oddly, however, it’s an album that defies such categorization — it doesn’t sound like 2014 and it doesn’t belong to 2014; it kinda sounds like 1984, if anything, but really, it’s one for the ages. Listen.

Merchandise Tour Dates:

09/07 Gainseville, FL @ The Atlantic (w/ White Lung & Post Teens)
09/19 Mobile, AL @ Alchemy Tavern
09/20 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
09/21 Houston, TX @ Walter’s (w/ The Rebel, Spray Paint, & Institute)
09/23 Austin, TX @ Red 7 (w/ Lower & Institute)
09/24 Marfa, TX @ Padres (w/ Lower)
09/25 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister (w/ Lower)
09/26 Phoenix, AX @ 51west (w/ Lower)
09/27 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex (w/ Lower)
09/28 San Diego, CA @ Kensington Club (w/ Lower)
09/30 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium (w/ Lower & Wild Moth)
10/01 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop (w/ Lower)
10/03 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios (w/ Lower & Arctic Flowers)
10/04 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore (w/ Lower)
10/05 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile (w/ Lower)
10/08 Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (w/ Lower)
10/09 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock (w/ Lower)
10/10 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (w/ Lower & Final Grin)
10/11 St. Louis, MO @ The Luminary (w/ Lower)
10/12 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups (w/ Lower)
10/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (w/ Lower & Ninos Du Brasil)
10/15 Toronto, Ontario @ Wrongbar (w/ Lower)
10/16 Ottawa @ House of Targ (w/ Lower)
10/17 Montreal @ La Vitrola (w/ Lower)
10/18 Boston, MA @ Great Scott (w/ Lower)
10/21 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church (w/ Ninos Du Brasil)
10/22 Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage (w/ Ninos Du Brasil)
10/23 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter (w/ Ninos Du Brasil)
10/24 Raleigh, NC @ Kings (w/ Ninos Du Brasil)
10/25 Atlanta, GA @ Mammal Gallery (w/ Ninos Du Brasil)
11/03 Bielefeld, Germany @ AJZ
11/04 Leipzig, Germany @ Täubchenthal
11/05 Vienna, Austria @ Arena Vienna
11/06 Linz, Austria @ Posthof
11/07 Zagreb, Croatia @ Mocvara
11/08 Ljubljana, Slovenia @ AKC Metelkova
11/12 Milan, Italy @ Biko Club
11/14 Bologna, Italy @ Covo Club
11/15 Lyon, France @ Sonic
11/16 Paris, France @ Espace B
11/17 Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
11/18 London, UK @ The Laundry
11/20 Bristol, UK @ Start The Bus
11/21 Birmingham, UK @ The Hare & Hounds
11/22 Manchester, UK @ Sound Control
11/23 Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
11/24 Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
11/25 Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny
11/26 Liverpool, UK @ Kazimier
11/27 Brighton, UK @ Coalition
11/28 Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Paradiso
11/29 Germany Frankfurt @ Nachtleben
11/30 Munich, Germany @ Feierwerk (The Orange House)
12/01 Zwölfzehn, Stuttgart, Germany
12/02 Club Banhof Ehrefeld, Cologne, Germany
12/03 Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
12/04 Urban Spree, Berlin, Germany

After The End is out 8/25 via 4AD.

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Comments (6)
  1. Can Merchandise just release this thing already?! Please and thank you!

  2. I put this album on in my car for a friend and his head nearly exploded. True story.

  3. Y’all need to get the Premature Evaluation of this out already. There’s too many good albums coming out on the 25th/26th for you to snub.

  4. This album is shaping up to be one of the best thus far.

  5. New interview with Carson Cox of Merchandise on Figure8

    http://tinyurl.com/lhx64z8

  6. Best track is Green Lady and has my listening enjoyment in transmission.

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