As an artist gets deeper and deeper into building their own personal musical style there is also inevitably growth. This growth comes in the form of musical talent as well as in life. We start to see what works best for us and become the artist that we were meant to be. Our recent discovery Merit Maker seems to be hitting his stride now with music flowing freely.
Based in Philadelphia, PA, the musical project is the heart and soul of songwriter and bassist Joe Stanton. After being part of a few different bands, he learned that he was never satisfied with the overall direction of the band’s output or having to deal with the personalities of the other band members. The music was not the way he envisioned it. The result was the launch of the solo project Merit Maker.
The journey continued with the release of the full length album Judgement Calls. The 10 track record hits hard but the overarching message is one of positivity and uplifting lyrical content with a punk rock edge. Something we can all relate to and can use more of in our lives. The opener “Unbroken” sets the tone with a raw attack that gets the blood flowing.
Joe Stanton shows off his talent at creating basslines from the start of “Start Again” as the track builds off of that to a full on pop punk banger. The angst is heard in the lyrics as the fun melody gets the head bopping and ties tapping. “Aim High” continues that trend bringing back memories to the height of the scene in the mid-late 1990s. Catchy fast music with a meaning.
The pace picks up again on “Branching Out” keeping the energy high with a little harder sound sprinkled in. Another hard step is taken on “Bridge Burner” that comes off as an homage to the full spectrum of punk from its early 70’s beginnings to the modern age.
Throughout Judgement Calls the eternal stories and relatable life struggles are presented such as building oneself up, finding who you are, and staying true to what you’re about. Rising above all the chaos and confusion, especially in these crazed times. We can all use this right now.
The melodic closer “To Unwind” lets us actually unwind from the power of the record. We get to take a breath and absorb all that we have taken in.
We hear the music will keep coming fast and furious for Merit Maker. Keep and eye and an ear out.