Caught somewhere between Jason Falkner and a four-track version of King’s X, Denver’s own the Wind-Up Merchants can and should be every bit as successful and influential as local-scene graduates Apples In Stereo. The trio’s debut album “Sprain Pkwy” is a broad and bold sampling of tunes that do a suitable job of introducing listeners to the band’s sound. Unfortunately, the disc fails to live up to what we might imagine the Wind-Up Merchants are capable of.
Tracks like “Rick James,” “Thinker” and “Better Fuel” validate the Wind-Up Merchants’ songwriting skills and prove the group can deliver inspiring instrumentation and catchy chord progressions. Ironically, most tracks on Sprain Pkwy miss the mark due in no small part to a lack of memorable melodies, harmonies and vocals. For those of you following along at home, these are some fairly key ingredients to be missing in the pop world.
The songs themselves aren’t to blame, nor are the players. In a world where most great power pop bands are overproduced, the Wind-Up Merchants’ freshman offering truly needs little more than a shot in the arm (preferably steroids) and stronger vocals – both lead and backing. Fortunately, Sprain Pkwy serves as a decent demo that should spark interest in production and recording circles. Given the right team, the Wind-Up Merchants could eventually deliver the product the group originally envisioned.
Spirit of 1848 Records