The genius of Totale Night is how finely tuned and balanced these incongruent elements are, and the end result is a delight to behold.
Yet here they are with album number three, and Totale Nite is the result of focus and conviction, although invariably steeped in melancholy nihilism. No longer content to use supermarket keyboards in their recording arsenal, Merchandise have fleshed out their skewed aesthetic. Carson Cox's vocals are mordant and despairing, hovering above the swirling guitars and metallic drum machines, and on Anxiety's Door it's so reminiscent of The Smiths that it's uncomfortable. However, on Totale Nite and Who Are You, with the inclusion of saxophone and harmonica respectively, we are back into more original terrain. It resembles pop, yet masked with weird tempo changes and sudden stabs of white noise.
Totale Nite is filled with pop euphemism, continually toying with the mainstream without any intention of embracing it. The bruised, wasted sentimentality of faux-ballad I'll Be Gone stands at odds with the title track, an infernal ten-minute behemoth that runs the gamut of garage-based acts while infused with anger and industrial blasts. Such abject juxtapositions exist deliberately, yet the genius of Totale Night is how finely tuned and balanced these incongruent elements are, and the end result is a delight to behold.
This week's new sets include the return of UK's Foals plus local acts Last Dinosaurs, The Snowdroppers and The Paper Kites.