Ottawa’s Dave Merritt, with the help of a rotating cast of musicians, has been recording and releasing music for over a decade. Despite a loyal following and peer support, the only output we’ve heard since 2006 is a teaser single for “an upcoming” LP.
It’s been five years since The Golden Seals recorded and release said LP, so that’s a Donna Martin type tease. The music industry has changed and so has preferred sound recordings and influences. Thankfully Dave’s approach, trademark melodies and comforting touch points haven’t. Unashamedly hooky, blissfully melancholic and delightfully hi-fi, Increase the Sweetness is a worthy addition to any power pop lover’s collection.
Dave’s got a sharp tongue, sugary vocals, and a keen sense of melody. Sounds are presented clearly and efficiently; the short run time (26:36) almost demands multiple listens. The minimal compositions flow into each other for a complete listen — really, the only change of pace is the electro-collage, “Woke Up Laughing” — and while a few surprises might add some depth to the listen, it’s hard to complain when you an LP is as enjoyable as Increase the Sweetness.
With loving nods to institutions like The Beatles and Sloan, Merritt once again proves his worth as a song writer. Songs like “Kick It”, “Wet Suit”, “The Year Things Fell Apart” and “Civil Unrest” all explode out of your speakers and hint that maybe we need to start paying more attention. Hopefully the frequency of his output increases so we have that chance.