Album proves to be a refreshing mix of styles
In the bandâ€™s new self-titled album debut, Morning Parade uses what fans have heard before from other artists â€” the sentimental verses, the catchy-yet-passionate choruses, the builds â€” to execute its own songs in a uniquely refreshing yet familiar way.
â€śBlue Winterâ€ť opens the album with a tempo and beat reminiscent of Radioheadâ€™s slinky, grooving â€śWeird Fishes/Arpeggi.â€ť Itâ€™s edgy, but thereâ€™s also a dazzling and inexplicable mysticism to the song that sets the bar high for the rest of the album. But in this way, â€śBlue Winterâ€ť isnâ€™t the ideal choice for an opening track. Though thereâ€™s no doubt the song is compelling, depending on whoâ€™s listening, â€śBlue Winterâ€ť acts not only as a tour de force that compels listeners to continue listening but also as a one-trick track that convinces listeners that once they have heard one title from the album, they have heard it all.
The second track, however, dismisses any doubts that â€śBlue Winterâ€ť might have created. An upbeat tribute to the universally acknowledged theme of love, â€śHeadlightsâ€ť uses the bandâ€™s signature hushed, sultry quality â€” with credit going to vocalist Steve Sparrow and drummer Andy Hayes â€” to pull at the heartstrings of listeners. â€śI am all too predictableâ€ť is one line that Sparrow sings with such melancholic resignation that it continues to echo long after the song has ended.
â€śCarouselâ€ť stands out with the contrasts it makes between sweeter vocals in the verses and a more powerful and emotionally driven chorus. The chilling lyric â€śA melody of our ownâ€ť is sung in a smooth falsetto that adds a touch of musical vulnerability, making â€śCarouselâ€ť one of the more memorable tracks on the album.
But it is with â€śRunning Down the Aisleâ€ť that Morning Paradeâ€™s album starts to show some weakness. Like many of the songs on the album, â€śRunning Down the Aisleâ€ť has depth, especially from the somber notes from the piano and vocals in the foreground. But the lyrics, â€śTell them to keep the cameras rolling / To keep the champagne flowing / Going nowhere, going nowhere / Tell them to keep their bed of rosesâ€ť sound overwhelmingly melodramatic. At least the disjointed frenzy of static, guitars and drums makes for a very edgy breakdown; the bridge also creates an intense build and helps to save this song from slogging down in its subject matter.
The album gets back on track by following â€śRunning Down the Aisleâ€ť with two already acclaimed titles, â€śUs and Ourselvesâ€ť and â€śUnder the Stars.â€ť
With deep harmonies, â€śUs and Ourselvesâ€ť showcases the musical ingenuity of Morning Parade, which comes through as a combination between the musicality of Coldplay and the uncapped intensity of a rock band.
MorningÂ Parade mashes together planetarium and nightclub to create â€śUnder the Stars,â€ť a cosmic kind of melody that makes use of techno beats, crashing cymbals and intermingling voices. It is anthemic but also offers a deeper and more soulful level of musical subtlety.
â€śClose to Your Heartâ€ť is neither one of Morning Paradeâ€™s best songs nor one of its worst. Itâ€™s a safe track, one that blends seamlessly among the others in the album. Though â€śClose to Your Heartâ€ť embodies the edginess and sentimentality that Morning Parade infuses into most of its songs, the beat, the timing and the harmonies feel predictable and far from original.
Taking a break from the guitar shredding and gruff vocals, â€śHalf Litre Bottleâ€ť is a soft and lulling song, with the melodic strums of the guitar accompanying Sparrow, who shows off a sweeter side of his extremely versatile voice. It is poetic, with the dynamic repetition of â€śWhere were the angels that nightâ€ť carrying through until the end, and promotes a genuine quality synonymous with Oasisâ€™ timeless song â€śWonderwall.â€ť
But having exhausted its best material, the album begins to fall flat â€” with a few exceptions.
â€śMonday Morningâ€ť is a mix between the gloom of â€śHalf Litre Bottleâ€ť and the musical and lyrical depth of â€śBlue Winter.â€ť â€śMonday Morningâ€ť sounds like a song that would play while a person stands miserably in the rain, shivering and alone â€” full of anguished sorrow. Like â€śClose to Your Heart,â€ť however, â€śMonday Morningâ€ť runs very predictably, without much ebb and flow to keep the listener fully engaged.
A simple and peaceful track from Morning Parade, â€śSpeechlessâ€ť is unlike any other song on the album. â€śSpeechless,â€ť which swaps a drum set for a tambourine, perhaps stands as Morning Paradeâ€™s hopeful attempt at an indie song. Though pleasant and meaningful, it comes across as a track that falls more along the vanilla lines of The Fray rather than, say, Fleet Foxes.
Concluding the album, â€śBorn Aloneâ€ť tries to bring the album back full circle by reprising elements used throughout Morning Parade. The lyrics are more intricate, the drums make a return and there is a sense of rejoicing in this final track. Though not particularly memorable, â€śBorn Aloneâ€ť does end the album on a vigorous note.
With its songs already nearing new heights of popularity, Morning Paradeâ€™s new album acts as a launch pad for many more musical successes to come. The bandâ€™s ability to go from a lively anthem to something sweet and mellow, all while staying true to its style and music, is a trait that can leave the bandâ€™s fans â€śSpeechless.â€ť