Mergence’s new album is titled Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead, but its music refutes this statement at every turn.
Using rock techniques stretching from its roots in blues to its most recent surge in the mid 2000s, the band asserts that the vibrant feelings of youth are far from their deathbed.
The Yod’s lead guitar is prevalent on Those Vibrant Young People. But where less intelligent bands might use it as a driving force on every track, Mergence molds its use to the song. Noodling solos and atmospheric tones stand side-by-side.
These songs utilize the loud-quiet-loud dynamic phrasing that came of age during the grunge era. As a result, some of these songs will sound familiar on the first listen. The sense of déjà vu one gets listening to them has a very nostalgic feeling. Yet, the Yod’s chameleonic guitar skills and Adam Bruce’s muscular vocals make these tracks feel fresh despite their roots in the past.
The undeniable centerpiece of Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead has to be “Me and My Family vs. The Robots.” Despite the silly title, the song is an exploration of that caged-in-by-society feeling. With lyrics like “Many things that we hold so dear/hold our throats/Society’s got strong robot hands,” Mergence leans towards mourning rather than just yelling real loud about how bad things are. A smart move, both lyrically and musically.
“Eulogy 29” is another highlight. In these days when the single is king, it takes balls to release an instrumental, let alone a sad one. The song feels a bit like an Explosions in the Sky track and encapsulates anguish better than most lyrics could.
The album ends on “At the Salt,” a track that comes off like a tribute to Band of Horses. A good one, too. It ends things on a note of sadness tinged with hope and brings the whole of Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead into focus. This album is a statement that despite a setback or two, the young are still kicking.