Album Review: Merriment – Sway
It seems like the youngest members of the DuPree brood, Christie and Collin, were destined to be in the music business. With their mother being a vocalist, their father a band manager, and their four older siblings and cousin comprising Eisley, it only made sense that the duo would eventually venture into the family business.
Chrisite began writing lyrics around the age of 14, turning to her older sisters when she needed help honing her guitar skills . She recorded her first (untitled) EP in 2010, with her brother-in-law and drummer for MUTEMATH, Darren King, filling in as producer. The EP led to opening up for Eisley on tour, with her brother Collin helping her out on guitar. The two worked so well together that they began to collaborate and so Merriment was born.
The duo released the Through the Rough EP in 2012 and were signed to Equal Vision Records’ imprint label, Rory Records. Sway was recorded in the band’s hometown of Tyler, Texas with Charlie Brand of Miniature Tigers serving as producer. Fans were treated to two tracks from the album back in November and a live preview of more when the duo opened up for brother-in-law, Max Bemis, during his winter acoustic tour. Their performances and singles garnered some much deserved attention from both Alternative Press and American Songwriter, building up excitement for their album’s release.
“Backwards” was one of the first singles to come off the album and a perfect introduction to the band. Christie’s vocal range and tone are showcased perfectly throughout the track. The instrumentations are lush and the song has a whimsical nostalgic feel while still being fresh and new. “…this song is basically about loving someone so much even when it makes no sense because they might not love you back, and how eventually that heartache turns into something that makes you stronger, and every day it hurts a little less, until you find yourself realizing your heart isn’t broken at all anymore, and you are a much stronger person than you were before,” Christie told American Songwriter when they premiered the song.
The album is relatively simple yet delicately layered throughout each track. “Tremendous Love” starts with beautiful acoustic guitar before Christie’s sweet vocals chime in. Her lilting voice floats elegantly over dreamy guitars and bass before the track builds into a finale filled with atmosphere and echoing vocals. It’s definitely got some influences from the band’s siblings, but the youngest DuPrees make the sound their own. “Unhinged” features sweeping strings as Christie’s voice ebbs and flows over the verses and chorus. “Let me break it to you this way / Please don’t ever go away / Hoping this will make you see / I want you here beside me / Even if I can’t admit I’m wrong sometimes / I’ll take the blame”. Christie’s voice can go so easily from low to high that she makes it seem effortless.
Sway is a fantastic way for Merriment to officially come into the world of music. The album is a beautiful and sometimes haunting look at falling in and out of love. While Christie and Collin may be following in their parents’ and older siblings’ footsteps, they are definitely taking their own path.