Alternative/Indie Rock

Arson is for Lovers

Artist: Merit

Produced By: Aux Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            At, we have always strived to bring our readers all things entertainment.  To that end, we donít only write about mainstream entertainment.  In fact, there are times when we find far more enjoyment in writing about the independent forms of entertainment out there.  Weíre always looking for something new.  Thatís why, when Merit contacted us and pointed us toward their new album, Arson is for Lovers, we couldnít resist checking it out.

            Merit is an alternative/indie rock band based out of Syracuse.  The band emerged in the year 2002 when Syracuse University students Will Mecum and Jeff Nelson met up with local songwriter Brenna Merritt.  Will played bass guitar, Jeff supplied the drums and Brenna could not only write songs, but sing them and back it all up on guitar.  Hal Appleby joined up with his guitar-playing skills.  The band remained in Syracuse after graduation, playing locally and eventually touring all over the United States.  Merit has opened for some well-known performers such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Liz Phair, Stage, Bif Naked and The Reputation.  Their first demo earned the band radio play and attention from Central New Yorkís new indie label Aux Records.  Merit recorded their first album for Aux Records, When We Fight, in April of 2004.  Merit received local recognition as an up and coming band, winning the Brian Bourke Award for Best New Artist at the 2004 Syracuse Area Music Awards.  Merit followed up with a self-titled album in 2006.

            Their latest album, Arson is for Lovers, features 10-tracks of what I like to call Rebellion Rock.  The music is definitely rocking with great guitar riffs and rocking drum beats.  Meritís sound is reminiscent of Paramore, a band I admire greatly for their heartfelt lyrics and their rocking music.  I call this Rebellion Rock, because irregardless of the situations described by the lyrics, there is a feeling throughout that the members of the band are determined to survive them all and laugh in the faces of those who try to hold them back.  Love lost is expressed as painful, but something that you can come back from.  Lies and misleading actions are met with sincerity and determination.

            But donít get the wrong idea about this band.  Merit doesnít just do in-your-face alternative rock.  There are a couple of ballads on the album in an attempt to show the softer side of Merit.  I wasnít sure how the band would make the transition from the hard rocking Hold Everything to the softer tones of a ballad, but they pulled it off perfectly, most notably in Mourning DoveBring us the Sun is Meritís way of completely changing things us, bringing the listener a sound that is slow-moving and somewhat dreamlike.

            Listening to Arson is for Lovers, it is easy to see why Merit has gained so much popularity in the Central New York area.  This is a band that is on its way up the ladder from the local rock scene to mainstream music Ė itís just a matter of time.  Arson is for Lovers is available at and  Check out the bandís MySpace page to listen to more music by Merit.  This is a band I fully expect to be hearing on mainstream radio in years to come.


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