Birds of Passage – The Death Of Our Invention

After a span of silence – four long years – Alicia Merz is back with music to haunt your heart. Her otherworldly harmonies are both beautiful and fallen, lying in a gap somewhere between ecstasy and misery, between complete transparency and a dim, obscuring light, and halfway between the gutter and the stars. Her backgrounds are cloaked in opaque substances while her reverb-haunted vocals pierce the air with a glass-like clarity.

Full of emotion – wracked by it, choking on it – the music she offers is both a remedy for your troubles and an invitation into its deeper entanglement of thoughts. Silky harmonies are draped over the pristine dress of her voice and the bright, romantic harmonies go hand-in-hand with the poetry of her lyrics. Songs like ‘Haunt My Existence’, ‘Creature of My Night’ and ‘The Love Song’ are all warm, fragile and gloopy, and while her music radiates a pure, innocent love, there’s an ache in there, too, a sharp thorn never released from soft, vulnerable skin.

Something of sadness. Something that never came to pass. A wish unfulfilled.

Euphoric chords bleed into the deep despair of unrequited feelings, when moments with someone special are only visited and made real through apparitions and dreams. ‘You’re the love song I never sang’ is a tragedy in seven words, but it’s also beautiful and real as her true feelings are left out in the open, where they will either stand and live or collapse and die, susceptible to responses and actions. Her songs cut deeply. These words trail on and on as the music fades into silence, each word like a beautiful rose left to decay in a forgotten garden. Her lyrics lie in repose as the letters are covered in snow, one-by-one. Her music is an inverted, melancholic wish-upon-a-star, a fairy-tale torn out of comfortable pages and placed in the harsh reality of life in the real world.

Like the majority of Merz’s back catalogue, The Death Of Our Invention is a haunting set. Sparse guitar melodies hang over a voice that caresses and whispers of romantic love and its bittersweet wants, gasping for air in the all-consuming, intoxicating thrill of it. This is a cradle for two.

The music rides on the zeniths of love – when things are going well – and it hangs its head in its hands when things are falling apart. Lowered music. ‘Demons In Our Midst’ is another beautiful track, a dazed piece of ambient. This cold world has lost its way, and much of its morality lies in shreds, but love is still here, still echoing between two people, still alive, beautiful, precious. Still beating.

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