The Merrymaker’s Orchestrina fire off some decadent rhythm in “Have Mercy on Me,” a throttling wallop of riffage in “Anarchy (Reloaded)” and some supple swing in “Imaginary Friend.” They experiment with the depth of their acoustic/electric skillset in the freeform “Thinking About You,” spellbind us with their exotic influences in “Space Robot” and throw a little bit of punk rock rebellion into the mix in “Definitely Not My Underwear.” Whether it be the grinding guitar fury of “Burn” or the jazzy strut of the eponymous “The Merrymaker’s Orchestrina,” MMO will stop at nothing in their mission to captivate us with the best material to ever bear their moniker in Casualties, their latest LP out now everywhere that independent music is sold and streamed. After a lot of anticipation from both the media and fans alike, this critically acclaimed experimental rock outfit returns to the spotlight this summer with an incredible batch of reworked masterpieces and brand new, beat-driven bruisers in what I would describe as one of the most inspired albums to see release this month.
Though there’s an obvious sixties influence here, there’s also plenty of modern varnish to keep Casualties from sounding like a complete throwback (something that was quite an issue for the band’s last record). “Space Robot,” “Imaginary Friend” and “Have Mercy on Me,” while being stylistically different in every sense, share a common thread in their modernist construction, which binds all of the content on this disc together whilst showing off the abilities of the well-oiled machine that’s playing them. The Merrymaker’s Orchestrina have never been accused of recycling someone else’s artistic narrative, and their reputation for originality continues in songs like “Burn,” “Thinking About you” and “Anarchy (Reloaded),” all of which flank strong guitar parts with a bittersweet emotionality that is absent from the vast majority of new music that I’ve been spinning as of late. They know who they are in this album, and more importantly than that, they’ve found a way to get their point across to us without ever having to rely on their lush lyricism alone. This is a multifaceted release with a lot of detail for us to sort through, but audiophiles aware of this group’s past output were likely hoping for as much out ofCasualties.
If you were expecting a lot out of the new record from The Merrymaker’s Orchestrina, then you’re going to be very happy with what this eight-track treasure chest has in store for all who give it a listen this summer. Casualties has a lot of streamlined qualities that just weren’t present in past MMO studio efforts, and though some of their fans might be a little surprised to hear this dynamic sound in action, I for one consider it a welcome change from what we’ve heard in their rougher recordings. They’ve still got some room for improvement and plenty of flexibility in their sound moving forward, but loyal supporters of the band needn’t fear – the classic Merrymaker’s style that you’ve come to know and love is far from in shambles on this LP.