Merz - Loveheart

Clark Summers 17/10/2005

Rating: 4/5

Merz seem to have been knocking around the fringes of the indie scene for an age now (unless I'm very much mistaken) but with the beautifully crafted “Loveheart” they may finally get the break their endeavours deserve. Imagine Coldplay stripped of the bombast of “X and Y” and given a kooky makeover and you're close to the spirit of this band. Merz set out their stall early on with “Verify” an ethereal beauty full of classical guitar flourishes and dashes of dainty harpsichord. Even better is the sumptuous Buckley-isms of the magnificent “My Name Is Sad And At Sea”. “Butterfly” injects some warmth at the mid-way stage amongst what is up to this point a very chilly, atmospheric record. The most impressive aspect of “Loveheart” though is the manner in which the folk-y acoustic guitars of yore are blended with seamlessly cool swathes of keyboard. When the two come together in perfect harmony as on “Mentor” the results can be breathtaking. That's not to say “Loveheart” is flawless - at times it suffers from a lack of pace and there's the odd lapse into worrying M.O.R./Radio 2 territory as on the pedestrian “Warm Cigarette Room”. However in the main this is a record to welcome with open arms, a rare rough diamond amongst the slew of cynical Christmas greatest hits cash-ins.