Merchandise – “Flower of Sex” (Singles Going Steady)

Merchandise's first new material since the Dum Dum Girl collaboration Red Sun, sounds like a swirling potpourri of post-punk's many different generational guises.

Pryor Stroud: “Flower of Sex”, Merchandise’s first new material since the Dum Dum Girls collaboration Red Sun, sounds like a swirling potpourri of post-punk’s many different generational guises. Here, there’s the writhing melancholia of Joy Division, the anthemic Gothicism of the Cure, and the noise-lacquered shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine, but, listening, these forebears never seem to pull your attention away from the track itself. Instead, they seem to sift beneath its surface — aspects of its genetic code rather than its actual flesh. Just before the one minute mark, there’s an eruption of electric, world-splitting magma, and all of these influences seem to blur into one mesmeric mass of guitar reverb, bass thumps, and pure unbridled angst. “Now pour your body open”, Carson Cox drones, demanding the same outpouring of both physical and emotional honesty that “Flower of Sex” demands from its listener. [8/10]

Evan Sawdey: Signed to 4AD yet sounding like an opening act for the Cure circa 1991, this serviceable slice of UK-soaked guitar rock does what it needs to do, entertaining your brain’s nostalgia cortex before letting you dwell on the lyrics too much. Can’t hate on something so innocuous, but ask me next week if I wrote a “Singles Going Steady” entry for it and I’ll be hard-pressed to remember. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: A somewhat drone-like indie synth pop/rock number that vaguely recalls early ’90s shoegaze but with a bit more of a pop sensibility. Psychedelic Furs meets Jesus and Mary Chain updated for the 21st century. There’s certainly more than a hint of a retro college rock sound, but a unique sense of pop smarts prevent it from sounding too derivative. [7/10]

Jedd Beaudoin: The vocal performance really sells this one and the video makes it like 1992 all over again. Great, great stuff. I’m off to buy the album. [10/10]

Chad Miller: Has a pretty unique sound. Sadly, that sound doesn’t make it very easy to understand the lyrics, but it’s still a decent effect. The novelty all starts to wear off pretty soon though, and everything gets kind of old. [6/10]

SCORE: 7.40