It was always a minor bugbear of mine that relatively few UK bands found their way onto Deep Elm’s hugely influential ‘Emo Diaries’ series, despite a healthy underground emo and post-hardcore scene around the turn of the century.
Perhaps the biggest compliment that I can pay to Merrick’s Tusk’s ‘Regroup and Reform’ is that any of the six songs on offer would have not looked out of place in that series.
That’s not to say ‘Regroup and Reform’ sounds dated or exists simply as a nod to a better time. Yes, there’s a certain stylistic nod to acts such as Cross My Heart or Brandtson or Elliott, proving these guys are well schooled in some of the more exciting acts of the emo/post-hardcore golden age, but there is also a fire that burns brightly in these Nottinghamshire lads, and a building, cataclysmic sound that’s in the same ballpark as the stadium rock ambitions of Lonely The Brave.
What’s most exciting about ‘Regroup and Reform’ though is the confidence with which Merrick’s Tusk switch things up. There’s a solid crunch throughout; guitars stab and swirl almost simultaneously while drums puncture and pound, offset by John Jeacock’s vocals, which jump from sombre to pleading in an instant. Yet there’s also a delicateness on cuts such as ‘Votary’ and some massive hooks on ‘Keplar’; moments of clarity and light that which emerge from almost nowhere to suck you in and will you to listen again and again.
Such ambitions pull together perfectly on the mesmerising ‘The Hopeful’, a majestic end note that leaves you elated and thrilled. It’s gold medal winning stuff, and further proof that the UK underground is really riding the crest of a wave at the moment.
’Regroup and Reform’ by Merrick’s Tusk is released on April 1st on Button Pusher DIY.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)