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Kevin Morby - City Music

  • Published in Albums

Much as I liked Kevin Morby's Harlem River the last time I made a deliberate effort to hear the man's work was seeing him live at (the now sadly defunct) Incubate festival in 2015. The fact he's had two further albums released in the four years since Harlem River came out has completely escaped my attention it seems. Catching up on those (Still Life & Singing Saw) will need to be done later this week.

Turning attention back to the present we find that on City Music Morby has clearly progressed, sounding not in the least like anyone who's gone before but instead being fully his own man.

'Flannery', which bisects the dozen tracks on City Music is 40 seconds which could arguably have been left out but otherwise there's a consistently high level of quality throughout the record, whether on the upbeat likes of 'Crybaby' or his Ramones homage '1234' or the more downbeat title track.

As the album's title indicates this is music framed within the urban living experience, as opposed to the more rural scenario which Morby's semi-acoustic, country-tinged style might ordinarily seem more indicative of. Then again you could say that Kurt Vile follows the same path to equally good ends.

The downbeat songs of the 12 form the greater part of City Music so the early promise of a mixture of paces isn't fulfilled but then that would I suppose have been a large departure from Morby's usual model. Instead the album should be enjoyed for its consistent artistry and craft and the fact that it further cements its maker's reputation in his chosen field. City dwellers the world over should easily be able to find common ground amidst the impressions and emotions encapsulated within it.

City Music is available from amazon & iTunes.


Bleached – Welcome The Worms

  • Published in Albums

An honest and captivating piece of work, Welcome The Worms is one of the best albums of 2016 so far. A testament not only to their talent but also their drive, Bleached have produced an immensely personal record, giving a detailed look in to the lives of Jessie and Jen Clavin. Drawing from their less than desirable experiences, from eviction to excessive partying, unhealthy relationships to melt downs, the sisters build an uncomfortable picture of the reality of growing up in LA.

The opening track, 'Keep On Keepin' On', sets up the albums themes, tones and expectations perfectly. Musically everything is tight, almost clean but Clavin's voice coupled with worthy grunge guitars keeps the punk rock elements prevalent. The lyrics point to being lost, in pain, trying to change yourself for the wrong reasons, “And I don’t really understand why you can’t forget the past I had… coz I’m drowning for you today”, a subject echoed in many other tracks alongside the continuous theme of recreational drug use; something it feels is rarely touched upon by female musicians in such large detail.

Tracks like 'Trying to Loose Myself Again' and 'Sour Candy' seem to be based around different coping mechanism in darker hours: “I’ve been sleeping around, this hungry town, trying to find myself again”. At the other end of the scale we have the brilliant single, 'Wednesday Night Melody', focusing on drug abuse and its consequences: “Soak in the rays from the grave, the shadows don’t mind on this Wednesday night, melody”.

'Sleepwalking' and 'Wasted On You' are the light amongst the apathy; throwing out a distinct and rather welcome hit of self-realisation. Bearing their souls in their lyrics and whilst some may be more personally relevant than others, the presence of their experiences reaches you in a gripping and emotional way building your attachment to them with each song.

The last track, 'Hollywood, We Did it All Wrong' oozes with California Punk from the first note. The guitar is playful, the melody simple yet alluring and the lyrics are tinged with hope: “Looking back I try to laugh, I’ll never know what I never had”. It brings Welcome The Worms to a calm and focused end and a direct opposite to the dark and urgent opening track. The perfect closer to this emotionally raw and musically powerful album.

Welcome The Worms is available via Amazon & iTunes.

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