Drifting from laid-back, melodic pop to aggressive noise rock, Scarified, the debut album from the Boston-based Dirt Merchants, at times seems scattered, as if two separate bands recorded the album. However, the band manages to pull off both styles well, which makes the album work even though it's not that cohesive. The harder, noise-oriented songs, "Bullfight," "Purple Barrel," "Puncture," and "Mindfuck," feature loud, fuzzy guitars mixed with singer/guitarist Maria Christopher's snarling, angry screeches. On the other end of the spectrum are the pure pop songs like "Trip Trip" and "Buttercream," which are filled with light melodies, catchy choruses, and "la la las." In these songs, Christopher's voice shifts into a teasing, flirtatious coo. The album's single, "Love Apnea," is one of the best tracks. It features an interesting repetitive steel sound in combination with the repeated verse "you had me all along." The song is smooth, but at points, it breaks into jagged guitar riffs. Aside from being the type of song that sticks in your head, it's also one of the only tracks that combines both of the band's styles.
AllMusic Review by Tracy Frey