Meridene - Something Like Blood
Record Label: Amble Down
Release Date: Sept. 28, 2010
Lord knows what works and what doesn't in the music industry anymore. At this point, might as well just stop trying to guess. But if there's any sense to any of it, then the Wisconsin quartet Meridene will find an audience. On their nine-song sophomore effort Something Like Blood they marry driving guitars, twinkling pianos and crystalline vocals with layered harmonies to make for a most rewarding listen.
Rousing album opener "Everyone's Waiting," kicks things off with gusto and the disc never falters from there. The bass-heavy "The Truth the Dead Know," talks of "the world just screwing you over," and draws on a brassy horn section, a cheery chorus and vocalist Trevor Ives' penchant for yelpy warbling. The caffeinated "Parade of Fools," is the disc's first stumble, but is swiftly recovered by the chilly "Written Like Mad Sonnets," a placid and earnest ballad with sweetly affecting synths and Ives' vocal fragility.
Title track "Something Like Blood," is a slow-rolling freight train ambling through a limitless fog and easily one of the album's high points. Backed by lingering guitars and shuffling drums it is a cinematic and hypnotic tour-de-force and the very proof that on this, their sophomore album, the Wisconsin quartet has indeed tapped into something truly special.
The jittery and addictive "Gone Baby Gone," is probably the disc's most commercial offering and seems to nod towards college radio domination and hipster swooning. In truth, if there's one song to take this band anywhere, it's most assuredly this one. On the autobiographical "Bible Belt," the group adopts a folksy lilt and a rustic sentiment that allows it to swerve away from being more than just filler.
Penultimate cut "Juliet, They'll Eat You Alive," begins awkwardly but works itself out halfway through. Truth be told, one wishes the quartet would have offered up a stronger song, but all qualms aside, it serves its purpose. Something Like Blood finishes with "A Man of Faith, A Man of Fact," a stark and arresting ballad, which allows vocalist Ives' to put his best foot forward.
That simple fact helps make Something Like Blood that much memorable. And while it's nearly impossible to predict the shape of things to come, one would be hard-pressed to think Something Like Blood won't make a dent. When it's all said and done, they won't be Eau Claire's secret for long.