Merchandise - After The End (4AD - 2014)
Merchandise are the coolest band in the world. Period. Born from a hardcore scene that never raised them they are basically the only band in the world that managed to be a highly celebrated pop band in a non pop context. After “Figured Out” spelt the end of the old Merchandise, IE the Merchandise that wrote “Anxiety’s Door” with a serial killer steel gaze, they’ve and turned their hearts towards more streamlined, less sinister celebration of what they are or have become. “Little Killer” the seventh song on their first proper full length for the mainstream 4AD records is a starry eyed pop song with an addictive hooky chorus. It’s the song they’ve always had in them but always held back from delivering, preferring to drown themselves, see Totale Nites highlight, “Winters Dream”. The title track is the only song here that really pushes time limits, and its not in a hurry to kill anyone. “Green Lady is a gorgeous thx tech track that takes a lot of risks and runs, and “True Monument” is one of those super ballads they’ve always done streamlined, they are wide screen tracks for a band that sounded great on the small screen so you can only imagine what they sound like IMAX sized. It’s fucking impressive.
The King is now truly dead, World Peace was none of his business and if Morrisey being dumped yet again for being antagonistic for the wrong reasons was a sign that these guys really needed to take over and After the End has come at the right time, the smiths baton is theirs. Merchandise were always meant to be this band but I can’t help but I know I will miss a band raised on blood that praised healing because the type of healing merchandise were practising on Totale Nite was one of healing via revenge, things went full circle. But what is left here, is relaxation, a look at a world where you can walk down the street on the first day of spring and push malevolent serial killer thoughts aside for a hour. These guys have been there done that. After The End is the post mortem from a time in punk music history where everyone joins them for a drink.