After listening to Dark Days in December, it was a pleasure to sit down with the Broke Beyond Tomorrow album in full and experience Liam Merrigan’s songwriting at scale. Opening with Memory Of You, the sound is immediately familiar, yet the songwriting is clearly eclectic in terms of subject matter and the overall energy of individual works. This starting song is a beautiful piece that seems hopeful and optimistic in energy, yet touches on a certain sadness; the contrast between the two is the greatest element – the utter humanness of it is captivating, and this continues to be true throughout the album.
Liam Merrigan has approached this album armed with only an acoustic guitar and a head full of melodies and ideas. Fortunately for some, that’s all that’s needed, and this is definitely the case with Broke Beyond Tomorrow. The collection gives you a strong idea of what the artist would be like at a live show. The passion is undeniable, and actually, despite the simplicity of the sound, there’s a fair amount of variation in the style of each song. One More Day, for example, has the feel of being an old rock ballad, the nature of the lines, the short delivery of ideas presented in quick succession; it paints a slightly different mood than the surrounding tracks.
Murder For The Crows falls back towards the Brand New or Dashboard Confessional vibe of Liam’s writing style – there’s poetry, metaphor, and once again, unquestionable levels of emotion and truth. There’s a distinct sense of real experience to all of these songs, and this is something that speaks volumes when listening to them. The melody on this one has something a little left of the expected about it, not dissimilar to some of the lesser known Bowie tracks from back in the day, a brief but notable comparison. Far Too Long follows on well from this with a beautiful string of lyrics and a compelling and hypnotic melody.
Heaven’s a Lie offers something of a more outspoken concept, it also lays the artist’s voice a little more bare – the lower tones are quite striking here, and the questioning nature of the chorus is compelling and provocative. It’s certainly a song to inspire deep thought. World We Created presents a strumming shift that is well placed within the collection. The simplicity of the instrumentation means you really benefit from switching things up (or down) intermittently throughout a project. The chorus to this one has an upbeat and hopeful vibe that in a way screams out for a full band set up; you can feel the high energy of it all and there’s definitely room for collaboration or further exploration of the whole thing. The verses are brilliant, great story telling and a great lead up to the chorus.
The title track of the album has a striking melody, mellow in nature and really drawing your focus to those words and that double vocal sound. Again, there’s plenty of space here, you really get familiar with those lines very quickly. The melody develops into one that invites the audience to be a part of it. The chorus has an anthemic energy, and the potential for togetherness, a live show moment of collective, uplifting singing, is pretty huge. A great song, really memorable and easy to get into.
All These Things My Father Said brings the energy down to the more mellow and reflective again, a deeply personal moment but one that still remains accessible to all. These are ideas we can all relate to, these are memories most of us share, the wisdom, the advice, the things we learned, the things we miss. This is a beautiful moment within the album, utilising simplicity once again to offer only the most poignant and emotional of elements. Following on from this is the equally gentle and hypnotic Girl With No Name. There’s a touch of influence from the likes of Goo Goo Dolls at this point. It’s a genuine bit of songwriting, effective storytelling, loaded with feeling. Liam Merrigan’s voice has a soft yet gravelly tone that almost whispers on occasion, it’s one that always comes through with absolute realness.
The project comes to a close with the iconic and poetic melancholy of Dark Days In December. This is a powerful and ultimately very real, honest collection of songs, from an artist with a clear sense of character and style of songwriting. Well worth experiencing for those who seek out real music and real lyricism from the genuine and wonderful artists of the world.