Ineffable is the sophomore album by French Alt. Rock band Merge. Having recently come of tour with Don Broco the Persians have not only proven themselves through live shows but also through their debut album Elysion. Their debut showed the promise the band had for the future, and through their recent cover of Twenty One Pilots’ track Heathens, which also features on the album, the band continued to show the promise this upcoming album has. Without further a do let’s jump in to this sophomore album.
The Exit kicks off this sophomore album by the French outfit, which feels like it has been taken straight off a film’s soundtrack. Not only is this track an amazing opener but also through the bands tight instrumentation and Max Rodriguez’s soaring vocals, the band yet again show how well they work together. Alongside Rodriguez’s vocals a great highlight of The Exit is the tracks middle section, filled with electronic effects it adds an extra element to the song.
The Password is the first of the two tracks that follow the opener on this album, and with Merge’s simple yet effective musicianship this track yet again packs a punch which lands perfectly. Through the run time of this track there are portions which feel heavier than others, almost reflecting some of the bands they have shared a stage with, but it also adds another dynamic to the track whihc is welcomed. The other of these two tracks is Soaring and with Max Rodriguez’s vocals similar to that opener but also the entirety of the album the track does what it says on the tin. With the sometimes more intricate guitar parts the use of electronic additions tie the track together well.
The title track of the album is easily the strongest track on this release. Ineffable as a track encompasses not only a vast array of instrumental tones but also a great vocal which lays on top of the track with ease. Alongside the vocals and instrumentation the track feels like the catchiest on the release and it is something special indeed, especially when towards the tail end of the track there are these powerful screams, reminiscent of what we heard on That’s The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon last year.
A powerful set of juxtaposing tracks follow Ineffable. Kicking off with Mirage’s very techno feel, almost like a dance track, there is great sense of the bands ability to jump in to many different styles. The focus on this track falls far more on the electronic side with Mirage with its poppy synths and simple beats the track stands out from the rest. Yet this moment of relaxation is short lived before we are pushed in to Bloodstream which picks the pace up again with it’s pounding drums and urgent vocals it presents a completely different feel to what came before.
The last of these three is Helene which is the weakest track on this album as there is nothing that makes it stand out. There is no highlight of the track which is noticeable as the track not only seems to fly by but also feels to miss the mark when you look at the album as a whole or what has simply come before it. However this is not to say that it is a bad track as the instrumentation on this track by no means is lazy and Rodriguez’s vocals still persist but it just is missing something key.
Twenty One Pilot’s smash hit Heathens comes next and this is a risk. Yet it is a risk that pays off, the slow piano ballad they have produced is a welcome change to the original track. With their own twist on the track it definitely comes as a highlight among the other 10 tracks. This is especially true around the 2:00 mark where the track becomes an entity on its own.
Towards the end of this album we get a final three tracks. Recovery being the first of this of these is a great sign as the track splits itself away from the other singles the band released for this upcoming release but also completely drags us away from the slow ballad that is Heathen’s and drops us in to what is an explosive start to the albums end. Face It Now is yet another moment where the albums feels to lull. Despite Merge taking a somewhat different approach with the track it doesn’t feel to pay off despite the exhilarating end that Face It Now brings which if presented on it’s own would make the track a contender for the strongest track on this release.
Ending this Sophomore album by Merge is In Details III, which almost makes the album go full circle with the feeling, like there had been in The Exit of the track being ripped directly from a movie soundtrack. With the tracks noticeable lack of vocals it is something special to listen to as it lets Merge explore their pure skill of instrumentation in a different way. With it’s almost perfect ending of a simple piano lead the track is worth a hundred spins just to re-listen to the piano let alone what the rest of the track has to offer.
Overall, Merge’s sophomore album is a mix of high and lows and although it isn’t perfect it is an album which will keep you entertained and wanting more from the Parisians long after the album has run it’s course. Ineffable is an amazing building block for the band and if they continue the way they are, Merge will be big very soon.
Come To Mexico, the sophomore album by French Math Rock outfit Totorro, has been an album which has been highly anticipated since the release of their debut album Home Alone. Their debut album was quite a drastic change for the band from their post-metal origins. With the eleven tracks in their latest record, Totorro seem to have flourished with their own Mathy Post-Rock sound.
Starting off the record is the track Brocolissimo and it sets a tone for the entire album with positivity and optimism evident in the tracks composition. The uplifting melodies which are present in the track create a vibrant atmosphere which follows through the end of the albums run time. One thing that is easily noticed in the album’s opener is the continuation of what Totorro started to do in Home Alone and with them almost expanding upon it further.
Yaaaago, the second single, and Trop Fort Jéjé continue this Sophomore record and although the two tracks are different in immediate feel, there is something clear from both of these tracks. That is the fact that despite the difference in feel, the clever and intricate musicianship between the quartet is consistent and never seems to waver track to track.
Following this is the lead single from the album Saveur Cheveux, a track that when it first came out showed the promise not only this album had but also the future that would possibly lie ahead for Totorro as a band. The track shows the band in many lights from its more fast paced sections to the slower parts that exist in the track. Alongside that the addition of small parts like the cow bell, that only features for a few small bursts, add something quite special to the track.
When the track reaches it’s climax around the 3:05 mark the band comes alive. Creating a very memorable final 30 seconds that truly stick in the mind as one of the many highlights that are present on this album.
The next set of four tracks on the album stay, overall, quite consistent with the tracks that have proceeded them up unto this point. However in each track there are massive highlights in each track. In Beverely Pills there is a very energetic ending with what feels like the most chorded section on the entire album. Then in Ouad & Khaled which is possibly the closest the band get to Post-Rock on the album, there is a almost hallucinogenic feel with the slowly picked notes and feedback that run on top of what sounds like natural noise.
Tomate Polisson then followed with strong drum sections and blaring guitars that feel far more post-rock in instrumentation. 100% Repos continues on this set of 4 tracks and is possibly the strongest track on the entire album. As the songs length lets the band explore more of their technical abilities, and the cleverly placed use of fast paced sections that quickly dip in to sections of a much slower pace.
After coming off the high that is the end of 100% Repos the album moves down in to Clara Mystère one of the slowest songs on the album, and with its intricate lead guitar parts the song cements itself well on the tail end of this sophomore record, especially when the band sing in French towards the end of the track.
Gérard Blast comes next and saying this is the weakest track on the album is by no means a bad thing as this track is still an amazing spectacle to behold. With its face paced and energetic feel the track bops along with precision and yet again adds to what has been an amazing album.
Rounding off the album is Come To Mexico, the title track of the album which is the most energetic track and best ending this album could have asked for. With guest trumpeter Clément Lemennicier the song ties a perfect end to what is almost a perfect album. Whilst the songs aren’t overly complicated, those who know their Math Rock will hear those time signature changes and poly-rhythmic sections. [9/10]
Brand new French acoustic duo Mental Jail have just released their new single, entitled Realm. The pair are past members of Arteries Shaking and Happening, so they’re not new to all this acoustic music lark.
The track is a great mix of two powerful vocalists and guitars, so have a listen!