Monday, June 1, 2020
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Artist: Soul Merchants
Title: Soul Merchants 1985-1987
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Smooch Records
Distributor: Smooch Records
Rated: *****
Soul Merchants is the name of the band that hails from Denver Colorado and is Goth/Deathrock Surrealism at it's best. Soul Merchants consists of a 5 piece Quartet starting with Malcolm Black on vocals and bass, Michael Moore on vocals and guitar, Robert Ferbrache on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Jerry Cuba on drums and Paul Cicora on drums as well to make up this Deathrock/ Gothic outfit. This album is a 2 disc cd dark/light that is a compilation through the years 1985-1987 and takes us back in time when music was raw and unprocessed. This is the first cd released ever, due to all the work being on tape only and other work only being on vinyl. Which truely makes it a memorable and enjoyable treasure for all to relish in. We take a walk on the dark side with track 1, " Blue Light which is a Bauhaus- esque track that is quite memorable. Dark vocals from 3 lads, singing, " I saw a pale light in your eyes." Haunting, deep and brooding and down and dirty just like we like it. We move to track 3, " Armoured Faction" which sounds so much like Peter Murphy antics with a whimsical spark added to it. " This road leads to heaven" is what they solemnly sing that mirrors Bauhaus's " Rose Garden Funeral of Sores ." This is the track that I feel I would danse to the most. Jumping a bit we move to track 6, " Cold Dark Bed " which sounds alot like Ian Curtis if he was singing on acid. " They sing, " I want to dive straight to the bottom." Psychedellic dark guitar lends the mood to the darkness that seeps in. Next is track 7, " Love " which is a moody, harpsicordy ditty that is dark and trippy and unique. They sing to us dreamy and overtoned by an overdubbed lurch-esque voice, " my hands reach out to free your spirit." " I contemplate my distance for you, truely unique lyrics for sure with dark desire and sentiment ". A dark love song that creeps under your skin and forever won't let go. Still progressing on we land on track 9, " Within Josephine" which is a lady we truely won't forget. Free flowing surreal and spiritual is the chemical makeup of this track. They sing to us, " everything within Josephine "," angels kiss your broken wings. "which is a guitar oriented track that digs deep into the crevices of our brains hearing the tale of one lady that haunts and taunts. I also found myself lost in the sentiment of this one. Still moving ahead we come to track 11, " Joshua's Song which is a pretty dark tale of a man that went away, something we can all relate to truely. Could possibly see this be the Soul Merchant anthem possibly. Another track that really truely stuck out is track 14, " Attics" which is a cool melancholy tale of the haunted attic we all have been in. They sing, " up in your attic, broken toys and games I see what you hide. " Truely spooky and all we know from the horror movies and memories we possessed as a child. The rest of the dark side is tales and tales of despair, deception, desire and delusions that make this first side of the dark a delight. Next we move onto the Light side and begin with track 1, " Crowns of Glory " which also reminded me of Joy Division-esque antics. Another song that should be remembered and cherished through the ages. The sing to us, " When you think of roses, do you think of thorns, any crown of glory always has it's horns." Truely witty, clever memorable lyrics that kick ass. This group is far from pretense and calls to the orginal. Next is another great track. " Johanna " which is badass and is another lady we will not forget. I particularly liked the drive this track had and it carried dark ambience as it described the setting it set. They sing to us, " black lace wedding dress and a room that smells of decay." How fitting for the Goth in all of us. I loved this track from start to finish, truely a masterpiece to listen to again and again. After hearing this track I had to move onto something faster to not get lost along the way writing this review due to being hypnotically charmed. So I moved onto track 6, " Save my Soul ", which was a face paced track still dark but very moving. It raced through my heart and grabbed me with it's hard hitting melody and feeling. They sing, " No one can save my soul." We have all felt this way at some point, enough said. Next is track 7, " Mental Clay." a fun depressing track with lovely pronounced keyboards in the background complimenting the darkness this track brings. Repetition is our friend this time and forever molds and shapes just like " Mental Clay " what the song calls for. The irony is the song itself, quite a clever notion, I must say. Still moving farther ahead we come to track 10, " Marianne " which we could expect to be Sistery is not. Sometimes what you would expect is not always what you get. This track by far is quite the opposite, still in the Joy Divisiony vein but something far different. You get uplifting and even they sing, " hey" punkesque and fun. With Soul Merchants you never know what you are going to get which makes this album exciting and leaves a promise if this band could re-surface someday soon. One can only hope but it would be amazing if they do. We will cross our fingers and pray to the elder gods for this to perhaps happen. Progressing farther we fall onto, track 13, which is " Valentines Day." First of all the number the track landed on was quite appropriate and again, this track had tricks and treats for the listener. This track reminded me of early Damned and Christian Death with a twist. which is two of the best bands I feel by far for old skool and greatness. Twilight Zoned doo- doo- doos came from the floorboards and jumped out and made this track undescribable but stuck in my mind and made me see this Hallmark holiday in a different light. This whole album is music to go on a quest, complete a mission and celebrate and just to complete it all off, we come to track 19, " Ceremony." which seals the deal of writing music that speaks it's spells, weaves it's webs and lures us in. Soul Merchants will own your soul, do you dare to surrender to them and forever own gratitude for doing so? ~ 4 stars Michelle Russo

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