The weather is set to cool down soon enough. With fall right around the corner, post-punk fans will undoubtedly be looking for something a bit more mopey to accompany their first weeks back at school. Florida-based group Merchandise is hoping to be just that soundtrack with their newest release After the End. Following their successful break-out debut Children of Desire in 2012, and 2013’s Totale Nite, After the End demonstrates the band’s maturity and evolution as they have dominated the indie festival circuit.
After the End opens with a dreamy, string-filled, ambient electronic instrumental piece called “Corridor,” which while not entirely an indication of the music to come, certainly sets the calm, relaxed pace that the rest of the album is to follow. After being sufficiently lulled by the first track, the upbeat (but equally electro-inspired) intro to the next song, “Enemy” helps pick the listener back up and gets them engaged in the rest of the album. The rise and expansion of post-punk in today’s indie market has left the door open for Merchandise to pick up on ’80s influences previously found wanting in other band’s releases. With the leaves preparing to fall in the next month, the hazy guitar tone found on tracks like single “Little Killer” will get you in just the right mood for the crisp in the air.
Though they have come out as not necessarily embracing some of the Morrissey comparisons bound to come with Carson Cox’s low and slow dry vocal style, the New Wave influence is unavoidable. But the inflection and uniqueness in Cox’s voice sets him apart from everyone’s favorite whiner, and sets Merchandise apart as a truly new way of taking ’80s post-punk origins and updating it for 2014. Hopefully, After the End will set the tone for post-punk new wave blends to come.