Merger - Second to Last [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Second to Last [7-inch] (2023)


Second to Last is a posthumous swansong for Delaware’s Merger, who have been broken up for a few years now. The band made a name for themselves in the local scene by merging post-punk angularity with a degree of ferocity and the closing 7-inch underlines the band’s strength.

“Psalm” kicks off with a Flipper style grind before spinning into a Fugazi style anger-blast. The bands vacillates between brooding dread and white hot attack and that gives the release a surprise attack. The band likes to staple solid grooves with spastic, sometimes cacophonic sound blasts, and it shows that the band knows what they are doing, but not so much as there isn’t some level of excitement and unpredictability. The track deals with America’s history of exploitation and points a finger at those who try to brush it under the carpet.

The b-side, “Sniffles,” is the counter-approach. While “Psalm” was jagged and threatening, the instrumental flip wavers between jazz and Gang of Four type grooving. Sometimes that’s called “post rock” but I call it an interest response. While the a-side was direct and off-the-cuff, “Sniffles” is a spacey number that is pulled by the currents rather than slamming down the track.

Merger may be no more, but their curtain call release does them justice and exemplifies just why the band was so interesting. Recommended.