Merchandise: A Corpse Wired for Sound (4AD) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, September 26th, 2023  


A Corpse Wired for Sound


Dec 06, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Tampa, Florida rock band Merchandise‘s new album A Corpse Wired for Sound is relentlessly minor-key and contains more than enough moaning about personal failures and relationships ending. However, it’s also dynamic and poetic, with better songwriting and production values than the band has yet achieved.

Merchandise’s last album and debut for respected indie 4AD, After the End, remains their most catchy and cleanly-produced release to date, yet Corpse contains a much healthier dose of the dour, passionate intensity that fueled the band’s humbler early records. Opener “Flower of Sex” is a rousing start, its driving beat recreating the excitement of sexuality while its sensual lyrics describe openings and closings and lettings-in, relying on the classic comparison of sex to flowers. It’s almost hopeful, but the next several tracks get progressively bleaker. In “Right Back to the Start,” which rides a jerky synth hook and programmed beats, frontman Carson Cox employs his moody baritone in a search for meaning: “Some people can’t be loved, some people can’t sing/Some people let their hearts do all the talking/I spent 30 years collecting the seeds/But they all died, so I guess I’m walking.”

This album is not great as background music, because its dark emotion can be oppressive. However, it’s a record full of detail; it’s no wonder this is the first album Merchandise has recorded in a studio. And while tracks like “End of the Week” and “Silence” are black as night, the ultimate arc of the album is one of acceptance. The penultimate “I Will Not Sleep Here” is a stunning, seven-minute rock ballad with exceptional build and payoff. By the time closer “My Dream is Yours” is over, you’ll want to flip back to side one and dive in all over again. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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