17 Jan 2022

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Merk - Album Review: Infinite Youth

13 Apr 2021 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

Merk has been up and running since 2016, collecting a few accolades and getting some attention in that time. He is a Red Bull Music Academy alumni and winner of the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut award in 2017. Merk's sound has been described as bedroom pop, psych-pop, and home-spun alternative pop. Infinite Youth is his second full length album after 2016's Swordfish.

Infinite Youth is steeped in a niceness that makes it a great soundtrack for feeling like you're in a bohemian slice of life romantic movie. It plays like a meet-cute scene with a hint of foreshadowing that somebody is going to get cancer or have their memories wiped.

The whole album revolves around themes of youth and transition, with a pervasive undercurrent that feels like apocalyptic existentialism coming from the next room. It's never quite all the way into optimistic acceptance, but decorates begrudging resignation with kooky sounds. It has a  similar endearing quality to Pickle Darling's work.

GOD uses some percussive elements that remind me of Alt J, with vocal production reminiscent of acts like The Naked and Famous and MGMT.

Laps Around The Sun
does a clever representation of its subject by structuring itself as a repeating refrain that gets extra juices added on each lap. This song is a touchstone in the album. The line "everybody gets to have their fun when it's the weekend" sounds awkwardly strung together at first, but that eccentricity turns out to be genius when it sticks in your head for hours afterward.

Deep Dive's end is a great example of some of the warbly low-fi affectations that give Infinite Youth a warm and cosy energy that you could sit down by a fire and knit to. Happiness contains really interesting string section swells that are exaggerated with volume swells. Merk has dubbed this the "pocket symphony".

Final track Infinite Youth verges on the berm of revisionist synthwave in the direction of The Neverending Story more than Stranger Things. It has a slow tempo and palpable emotional space between beats and notes. It's a wind down in comparison to the rest of the album, but lists between dynamic swells within itself usually led by percussive elements.

Except then it isn't.

It has a second movement of sorts where it veers into a disco-esque refrain in which Merk chants "We are the infinite youth." There's some cool little string parts darting around the head space too, which as the album ends, reminds me that there's been heaps of cool, quirky and interesting ear candy scattered all over this release.

Infinite Youth has some great songs in it in a standalone capacity like the intriguing Laps Around the Sun.
As an active listening piece it can be a bit of a strain; the dynamic range stays well inside the pocket of bedroom pop. It's an ideal soundtrack to accompany creative activities with a tactile element like cooking or building small robots.

The particular type of attention those activities require means you're frequently noticing the interesting affectations Merk's
songs incorporate. Infinite Youth is a really clever and intimate affair just perfect for a rainy day in a bay window.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )


Infinite Youth
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Year: 2017
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Callum Wagstaff

The Treasury - EP Review: It's Warm Now
30 Nov 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
The Treasury had exactly the genre of sound I expected from the bio, but with a presence and rich darkness to the tone thatI wasn't anticipating. Not dark like the musings of a goth rock icon destined to die at 23 but dark like a sexy old vampire.
Bediquette - EP Review: Not Now
04 Nov 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
If somebody decided to make an EP out of samples they ripped from a pirate alien distress beacon it might sound like Not Now. It feels like somebody's beaming a scrambled signal from a haunted bunker.
Comf - EP Review: Water
20 Oct 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
Comf is the solo project of sonic artist and electronic music lover Jazz Kane. With an appreciation and fascination for a diversity of genre, Comf connects their own personal experiences with manipulated samples of anything and everything, to tell a story that is a constant state of re-evaluation.
Dark Water - Single Review: While the World is Bleeding
30 Sep 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
Dark Water are a New Plymouth based alternative rock band formed in 2009. While the World is Bleeding is their new single, mixed and mastered by Crazy Daisy Productions, USA.
Henika - Single/Video Review: The Future of the Species
23 Aug 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
Henika is the moniker of Slovak born multi-instrumentalist Henrieta Tornyai. Her self-titled EP won Best Independent Debut at the Taite Music Awards in 2017.
Rain - Single Review: Pretty
19 Jul 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
Rain is the music making moniker of Wellington artist Cathy Elizabeth. She has been active since 2018, collaborating with producer Thomas Te Taite to create songs that are genre fluid, but all wrapped around the singer songwriter heart.
James Hunter - Single Review: Suburban Dystopia
24 Jun 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
James Hunter is an alt folk musician from Poneke. He writes, records, and produces records that are minimal in scope, but intimate through his vocal delivery.
Oh Sweet Nothings - Album Review: The Math
31 May 2021 // by Callum Wagstaff
"Completely DIY and 8 years in the making, “a tribute to the pipe dreams of the struggling indie artist”.The tagline for The Math by Wellington based indie post-everything band Oh Sweet Nothings is a likeable description.
View All Articles By Callum Wagstaff

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Luude feat. Colin Hay
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
    Lauren Spencer-Smith
    Glass Animals
  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
    Ed Sheeran
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem