Enter the world of Merchants of Menace, where ‘Loose Cannon’ takes you on a brief foray into rock territory. Cheesy as that may sound, there’s something noticeably pleasing and tantalising about Chris Hughes’s Axl Rose-esque vocals. Anything resembling Axl’s characteristic sound may after all, be loved or hated, but it can’t be ignored. For me, it always belongs in the plus column.
‘Loose Cannon’ begins the EP, with power driven pounding drums and passionate raw energy in the vocals. The upbeat guitar riffs pick up the pace, synchronising perfectly with the vocals and the drums, bringing the song to its well crafted finish.
‘Life’s Too Short’, a well-written rock ballad, shows the band’s versatility. The guitar riffs really come into their own here. A tearjerker if ever I knew one, with resonant lyrics and a strong melody. Even the hardest rockers can’t fail to be moved by this song. It will break even the iciest of hearts. Proving the band can play gentler tracks equally as well as heavy ones, this is a beautiful song, but should have a high risk warning attached for cry babies such as myself.
‘Hell To Pay’ is a nice and heavy fun rock and roll track. The Axl-esque screams throughout fit well with the rhythm of the whole song and what’s effective about it is its simplicity. Enough said.
On ‘Excess’, the pace quickens again. As its title suggests, it’s essentially about rock ‘n’ roll excess, the lyrics being descriptive of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Ending with another well-placed Axl-esque scream, (I do like those), it’s the obligatory rockers song.
‘Run For Your Life’ has a slower beginning with a catchy melody. Imagery is evoked through the lyrics. Melodically and lyrically, it is in my opinion, the best track on the EP. The song’s characterised by lots of strong heavy drum beats throughout, which end the EP, conveying an impression of almost leading back to the beginning of ‘Loose Cannon’. Deliberate or not, it’s a good twist and a good way to finish.
On the whole, this is an EP summing up the key aspects of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in a nutshell, with song titles which speak for themselves. Brief songs with brief rock ‘n’ roll messages, the love of the music and the lifestyle comes across well. Check it out.