Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)

 |   |  1 min read

Kevin Morby: Water
Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)

On the cover of this frequently mesmerising album where the music and arrangements can take unexpected but subtle turns, Texas singer-songwriter Morby is a tiny figure caught in a dark landscape with a spot of mysterious colour (a fire).

There seems to be a city of lights beyond the ridge.

His songs are like this too: they come from dark and solitary places, have a sense of separation about them and in places there is a flash of light .

Morby would most likely be described as alt.country – but with more than a hint of Southern swamps in places, not lonesome prairies – but he also includes a slice of shoegaze psyche-Americana in the driving Dorothy (with rolling piano part and horns).

Across this third solo album you can hear the influences of classic Bob Dylan (Black Flowers) and Lou Reed (Dorothy) in his flattened delivery but there's also a curiously engaging quality to his style, even though he remains emotionally elusive across these nine songs.

As much as anything however it is those melodic twists and turns he brings to his songs like the moody, relentlessly chugging seven minute-plus title track (never would have anticipated the women backing vocalists).

And the dreamy quality (with fiddles) on Destroyer which also comes with flittering sax.

Morby crams a lot of musical information into these songs and – with the exception of the two more straight-ahead country-Dylan closers, delightful though they are – you are enjoyable going along for the ride because you never know where it is going to take you next.

And that album title is quite ambiguous.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

James Yorkston: The Year of the Leopard (Domino)

James Yorkston: The Year of the Leopard (Domino)

You probably won't hear a quieter, more surreptitiously beguiling album this year than The Year of the Leopard, an exceedingly understated collection by this Scottish alt.folk singer/songwriter who... > Read more

Katie Melua: The House (Dramatico)

Katie Melua: The House (Dramatico)

Those who have followed Melua's career might be a little surprised by this outing -- and if you haven't then this might be the album to tune in for: dramatic, dark, hypnotic, cabaret-noir, lovely... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JAYREM RECORDS (1975-2011): The independence movement

JAYREM RECORDS (1975-2011): The independence movement

Despite the decline in music sales, anyone starting a record company today has it relatively easy when considering what James Moss was up against when he launched his label in early 1975. CD... > Read more

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

As with many of his generation, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt had been taken by the idea of “Shangri-La”, that tolerant refuge from a troubled world James Hilton had... > Read more