A Review of John Merrick's Remains 'Light & Dark'

JMR return with a new instalment of creative electro, full of ingenious lyrics and cleverly produced sounds and backdrops. A mix of emotions reflecting on the light side of life… soon twisting into the dark. Prepare to be torn between the two and never know what you’ll find on the other side…

Light&Dark CD front-02

Opener Slenderman is dramatic, atmospheric and absorbing, a sinister backdrop filled to the brim with electro bass lines, layered synths and  crushing drum sequences, melded together with strained but eloquently delivered vocals. Guitars roll into the distance adding a further element of depth to this evolving JMR sound. Tense and fragile, Drowning delivers a haunting lyric draped within a cacophony of heavy bass, screeching keyboards & eerie sounds. Vocals delivered passionately; laced with pain & emotion. We Are So Fragile is a Gary Numan cover, tackled with a typical JMR turbulent twist. Classy, stylish approach with cleverly programmed drum patterns and superb synth arrangement. Vocals are delivered with precision and focus – a great cover. Next is a stripped down track ensuring the focus is on the vocal delivery and lyrical content; Meaningless Life is an emotional trip creating dark imagery that lasts long after the final chord – crying out for a full-on industrial remix!

The title track, Light & Dark, is visual and melodic, show-casing the vocal abilities of JMR – atmospheric & ethereal – a real treat and the stand-out track on the album. Acoustic guitars, simple keyboards – no tricks here – this is raw and emotional! Conversely, Mad Max is aggressive and fast – JMR on speed! Drum sequences, dry-ice, lights, screeching keyboards, bass-lines punching, chaotic rhythms, layers of sound, orchestral… it’s all here!

With layered synths and a lighter melody Mr Bad Guy delivers a brighter emotional feel. Only JMR can deliver a depressing song about a bad guy and make it sound happy – with their inimitable tongue-in-cheek approachWhen I See You offers angry vocals delivered with just the right amount of sneer. Guitars blend effortlessly with drums & synth, creating a fuller sound and atmospheric background. A danceable track that would also work well completely stripped down – a multitude of remix options.

Piano adds a dark, twisted feel with haunting and strained vocals to Alone. A deliciously dark track that is both atmospheric and tense. Full of swirling images and gothic dreams, lyrically tortured and beautifully delivered. To finish… through the storm clouds do you see more dark clouds… or do you see a blue sky appearing in The End?

Credit for the original review written by Hooded Stranger [Systema Synthetica] – Thank you.

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