Mergence is one of those Phoenix bands that garners incredible local hype for its talents while simultaneously admitting that such popularity would be considerably less likely in New York or Los Angeles.
While the plaudits of the critics generally are a bit over the top, the band really does have a good thing going on. Featuring Adam Bruce on vocals, guitar, and keyboards, guitarist Yod Paul, bassist Brandon Shupe, and drummer Jason Roedl, Mergence members have "merged" (ahem, cough cough) their collective talents into a cohesive unit that follows the new anything-goes jam band model (without actually being a jam band) in venturing into blues, soul, vintage hard rock, and modern rock with a touch of psychedelia.
It makes for wild, mood-swing-inducing concerts, but it's also this stylistic variety that makes the band sparkle in the all-too-often dumbed-down world of commercialized music. This is a band that lives for its music, one that religiously believes in the power of live sound. That much is clear on stage -- easily unearthed on the well-produced Live at the Crescent Ballroom -- and on the recorded-live-in-the studio debut, Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead. Over-hyped, maybe. Worth enjoying and deciding for yourself? Absolutely. -- Glenn BurnSilver