Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Crosby Morgan deals in misery, and the redemption that absolution from grief can bring. This swoonsome four-track EP sees the American folkstress visit a series of moods, all morose, yet in a style that carries with it hope of salvation and a curiously uplifiting air.
At times, the dreamy, ethereal nature of the material merges with your surroundings, letting you forget you’re actually listening to anything – the start of second track Rain barely registers it’s presence, for instance – but then Morgan’s haunting, pained delivery immediately focuses your attention, bringing everything together beautifully as muted layers of vocal build up the atmosphere before disappearing as abruptly as they appeared gradually. It’s tremendously effective stuff.
An incredibly simple guitar line introduces Teacher before another beautifully layered vocal enters, muted screams giving an impactful start to the track, the guitar line never wavers, strangely stentorian despite it’s acoustic simplicity, giving a sparse backdrop to Morgan’s dynamic use of mixed yet simple vocal lines. There are no words, simply feelings given voice. Add in some clattering drums and a wall of guitars and you’re not far away from Myrkur; as it is the very nature of the delivery – a simple guitar and voices – imparts all the heaviness the song needs, almost merely by suggestion. This is supremely accomplished music, and after a hard day listening to all manner of over-amplified gubbins it’s a stark realisation to accept that a pure voice with simple instrumental accompaniment can make just as much noise in the most visceral of ways.
Final track Systematic Sadness is perhaps the most conventional song on offer, but that makes it no less interesting or beguiling. Morgan’s vocals are again layered beautifully, and the superb production makes sure that the acoustic guitars give the most support they can to the intricate vocal patterns.
A delight – albeit a sad one – from start to finish. Highly recommended.
Crosby Morgan’s Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah will be released on November 2nd.