MERRY - Beautiful Freaks

review - 16.02.2012 11:01

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep…

The new work of a favourite band is always awaited with impatience, and often even with anxiety – will I like the new style? Will the songs be as great as always? This is especially true if the last full-length album was released almost two years ago and the band has changed their label in the meantime.

When MERRY’s newest child Beautiful Freaks finally hit the stores, there were mixed opinions about it. Some fans adored it immediately, while others found it to be the band’s worst album since PEEP SHOW.

The whole album is a little disappointing because it only has a few new songs. The better known tracks, taken from previous released singles, haven't changed too much. But The Cry Against ME, in addition to a slightly different title which carries a deeper meaning, has become even more chaotic and louder than before. So if you did not like this piece on the single, there is a small chance that your opinion might change now.

But let’s move to the more interesting parts of this CD. The album kicks off, as we've gotten used to over the years, with an instrumental intro, giving listeners the creeps and becoming a really promising opening. Because this release is somewhat a summary of MERRY’s ten years on stage, the songs represent various points in their career. Hard rock tune finale, which comes right after the first song -choral-, with its impressive guitar solo, takes us back to Modern Garde times. Zetsubou retains a similar sound and also reflects the music and vocal style of the band’s early days. However, the real rarity is Skull, coming from the ancient past. This is a little-known piece that was written at the beginning of the group’s existence and was originally available on some versions of Gendai Stoic. Bizarre and garish vocals as well as punk elements give us an opportunity to listen to how the emerging MERRY played. Nontheless, you should keep in mind that the sound is much cleaner than in the original version. Besides, Gara’s sheep counting adds a lot of charm to it.

The band’s punk influences are also noticeable in Shoudoku, with an under-world-ish opening and not very melodic vocals and noisy riffs, as well as in the well-known Identity. The latter, unfortunately, in comparison to the original released on BURST EP, lost some of its roughness, becoming cleaner and smoother. Re-recording of this song, fitting also to an under-world feel, probably wasn’t a very good idea.

Those who are missing jazzy and bluesy tones in MERRY’s music will be thrilled with Zaa Zaa. Being a pleasant throwback to nu Chemical Rhetoric, this song is rather typical for MERRY, yet everything in it sounds good. Multi-textured, interesting music and rather monotonous vocals perfectly blend with one another. However, said fans will immediately fall in love with Fukinoku kinema, which thus far could only be heard during concerts. Because of its structure as well as rhythm and mood changes, it is reminiscent of Gekisei, but with a touch of ska. Although it is a shame that this song is short, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this album.

As an ending the band offers a ballad as usual. SWAN is nice, but rather stereotypical, and the only thing that makes it interesting is the fact that it was recorded by MERRY. At certain moments Gara probably overestimated his capabilities and the effects are sometimes painful to the ears. This song definitely does not fit in as the final song, a repetition of the failure which was under-world’s final track, Fuyu no Castanet. Following this is a dark and mystical instrumental titled -dawn-, matching the mood of the previous song very well.

In conclusion, the new album is a very good collection of songs and is a real pleasure to listen to. However, it caters more for fans of MERRY’s heavier side, although the band has not lost all of their blues and cabaret sounds. But this time it is hidden somewhere in the background. "Beautiful Freaks" are ideal words to describe this release, as it contains often beautiful songs, but also pieces characterized by a tune of eccentricity and imbued with melancholy. These songs create an atmosphere which describes the album concept perfectly – the requiem. Even though there's an impression that this CD as a whole lacks a coherent structure and that each song will sound better individually than together, this album includes compositions representing diverse moments in the career of the band celebrating their tenth anniversary. And MERRY shows that they are going to grow all the time while remaining true to their roots.
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