Monday, 6 July 2009

Review - Merit - Arson Is For Lovers

Merit - Arson Is For Lovers

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8 out of 10

Merit, I feel, are selling themselves mightily short. There is a charm in being self-deprecating, I should know - I'm awesome at it, but not so good at other things., but then there is sounding pitiful. This is the impression I got of Merit while reading their press sheet for their new full length Arson is For Lovers. It must be said when I got round to listening to it, my expectations were not high, so in this sense they got massively surpassed. Have Merit just discovered the secret to getting a good review? No, I think they have simply released a pretty damn good album.

Arson is For Lovers is a pretty snappy album, from the awesome album artwork, to the catchy album title and track names. The music also continues this theme, which is lucky because I'm not sure I can spend much longer avoiding talking about it. Cut and Run is a short powerful burst of angry rock, thrusted along by lead singer Brenna Merit's strong vocal presence. Her voice matches the music beautifully, lending just enough edge to make the songs pack a punch while still retaining some vocal flourishes that, at times, juxtapose with the blistering instrumentation in the background. It is also perfect on the elegant slower song Mourning Dove, highlighting that Merit are as adept at rocking out or slowing the pace down a touch.

I have the feeling that Merit are an incredibly hard-working band who haven't quite had the breaks they deserve. All the songs on this album have a slight sneer about them, a swagger that implies that they have realised that you can have all the talent in the world and still not get the breaks. I'm not saying Merit are the best band in the world, but they have released an album that deserves to get them a large amount of success. The album starts incredibly strongly, and maybe there are one or two songs that are not as good as these, but it picks up again by the time Blue Bedroom rolls around. This song is my personal favourite, closely followed by Mourning Dove, it just seems to epitomise the album, the lyrics slightly spat out, the crunching guitars and the no-nonsense attitude to song-writing. There is no pretension here, I doubt Merit have changed their sound to fit in with what is popular right now, I think they just make the music that they would want to listen to. And in doing this they have created a seriously good album.

Arson is for Lovers is a fine album, short, sharp and at times quite beautiful (I'm looking at you Mourning Dove and Bring us the Sun). Merit displays a maturity that only comes from hard-work and talent. A mix that I am sure will bring them the success that this album suggests they deserve.

EDIT: If you go to the band's website you can download this album FOR FREE. You seriously have no excuse not to check this album out.

Listen: www.myspace.com/merit

Tracklist:
1. Cut and Run
2. 'Fess Up
3. Arson is for Lovers
4. Mourning Dove
5. Hold Everything
6. Static and Satellites
7. Tour Memoir
8. Blue Bedroom
9. Bring us the Sun
10. Visible

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