I was lukewarm on the last Merchandise release. Everyone seemed so taken, and I was left wanting. Not wholly unimpressed but looking for something more. Their follow-up, Totale Nite definitely has taken deeper hold, and in unexpected ways. Nothing would have prepared me for the classic rock blast of harmonica in the opening seconds of "Who Are You?” a fizzing, frothing dirge of a song that feels overwhelmed with the high tide assault of afternoon and is in danger of dipping into darkness with the sun. They return to their post-punk bends elsewhere but with an openness that wasn't apparent previously; banging huge, room filling 80's drums like Bunnymen and twisting guitars through robotic and ethereal territories in the same song. It’s a hard feat to pull but they manage this with ease on centerpiece "Anxiety's Door". The studio sounds good on them and they use the record to play with a sense of space, dripping emotional grace and psychedelic nuance hand in hand. They've managed to find the line between dance and depression that rooted the best Reagan-era Rock firmly in place a few decades before their inception and they've managed to do it while holding staunchly to DIY spirit that keeps them hitting the basements rather than the stadiums. Totale Nite definitely perked my ears and I'd have to say, you've got my attention now. Eager to see how the story unfolds.
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