Kevin Morby — Still Life
♠ Morby je pevně v režimu pasivního vypravěče (The Ballad Of Arlo Jones). Hrdina písně prakticky nikde nepřebýval, pořád jen stěhování sem a tam. Nicméně, v písni je ještě náznak smutku muže, který žil příliš rychle, žil a zemřel sám. Samota je to, co vždy zasáhne Morbyho nejvíc.
♠ Morby sám je ztracená existence. Na albu Still Life je vždy na limitu své mysli. Problém je v tom, že je na ostrově taky sám. Je věčně v provizoriu a nikdy nenajde uspokojivé postavení až po okraj. Naproti tomu ale Still Life je solidní album. Morby celé kolekci písní důsledně dodává jemnou zasmušilost, snad přijde tedy ještě něco většího. Prvotinu Harlem River nepřekonalo a na úroveň "Still Life with guitar" (Kevin Ayers) ještě potřebuje dozrát. Vrcholem alba se mi jeví Amen (7:55), Dancer a Our Moon. Album se krásně poslouchá, zasmušilá nálada je v intencích doby, Eboly, krutých osudů, plíživé a neodvratné smrti, která trpělivě čeká. © Jessica Pratt
Birth name: Kevin Robert Morby
Born: April 2, 1988, Lubbock, Texas, United States
Location: New York ~ Montecito Heights, Los Angeles
Album release: October 14th, 2014
Record Label: Woodsist
01. The Jester, The Tramp & The Acrobat 4:21
02. The Ballad Of Arlo Jones 2:46
03. Motors Running 3:21
04. All Of My Life 3:31
05. Drowning 5:19
06. Bloodsucker 4:25
07. Parade 5:25
08. Dancer 3:04
09. Amen 7:55
10. Our Moon 2:51
By Travis Boyer, September 29th, 2014 (2:30 pm); Score: 68/100
♠ What do you call a reject among rejects? The outlier already in isolation is an island all by his lonesome. Funny enough, that is partially the inspiration for the title of indie rocker Kevin Morby’s second solo effort, Still Life. The title is an excerpt from a work of art by Maynard Morrow titled, “Still Life with the Rejects of the Land of Misfit Toys.” Morby reflects this inconspicuous title throughout his latest release. The bassist for indie folk band, Woods, loosely draws his inspiration from his transition from New York City to his new home in Los Angeles, focusing on solitude, weariness, and ultimately, death. He is on the outside looking in, longing to belong somewhere stable and not adrift.
♠ The fast paced “Ballad of Arlo Jones” is a lamenting tribute to a life cut way too short. Arlo was wild, an untamed spirit whose fate was written on the head of a bullet. ♠ No telling who Arlo crossed, but listening to Morby grind along about him, it is clear that Arlo did not deserve it. Arlo was a well–meaning rogue who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Morby is solidly in passive storyteller mode. He doesn’t dwell, he keeps right on moving. However, there is still a hint of sadness for the man who lived fast and died alone. The loneliness is what hits Morby the hardest.
♠ “Motors Runnin” is all revved up, looking to peel out and hit the open road and a change of scenery. The engine is primed. It’s ready to open up and unleash all of the pent up fury that Morby has inside. However, this hot rod never gets off the dyno in what turns out to be an extended tune up session. Morby is subtly frustrated, looking to open up and roar, but he keeps humming along waiting for that moment.
♠ Unfortunately, that moment never comes through on the following track, “All Of My Life.” A chill guitar tempers the rising expectations set on the previous track. All of the gearing up was all for not. The power is fading until it is finally cut. Morby slumps into a weary state on this sluggishly jangly track.
♠ Weariness is supreme on “Bloodsucker.” Morby’s draining vocals are a great reflection on being broken down. “Bloodsucker” is cold and defeated. Take it from Morby: “There’s a peace deep inside my mind, but it’s hard to reach from time to time.” That nugget of serenity is difficult to mine.
♠ “Amen,” the penultimate track on the record, finds Morby in a slow and steady process towards renewal. Morby winds his way through all of his previous ruminations on isolation to get here, acceptance. The repeating refrain, “take me as I come now,” says it all. Take me or leave me, it’s all the same to him. The swooning horn section ushers in a calm not felt before on the record. Sure, Morby never rages or rants the pain away, but it’s still there in its subtle way. Now, he’s on an even keel and that’s not bad.
♠ Morby is a misfit. On Still Life, he is always on the fringe in his mind. The problem is that he is on an island by himself. He’s eternally in transition and never finds solid footing until the very end. In contrast, Still Life is a solid record. Morby consistently delivers a subtly sullen collection of songs that long for something greater.
♠ "Professional road dog Kevin Morby put in plenty of months on tour even before going solo. Morby released his solo debut, Harlem River, in late 2013 while still an actively contributing and constantly touring member of both folksy warblers Woods and indie supergroup the Babies. Shortly before the release of the spiritually wandering Harlem River, Morby migrated from his longtime Brooklyn home to the sunny shores of Los Angeles, and while Harlem River was a picture postcard of Morby’s times in New York, second solo album Still Life investigates his radically different Californian surroundings, and the new inspirations and challenges that came with this move. Beginning with the low-key amble of “The Jester, the Tramp & the Acrobat,” Morby evokes the same meeting of storytelling and spirited, big-roots rock arrangements that Dylan perfected on albums like Desire. Indeed, “The Ballad of Arlo Jones” mirrors the same driven electricity in telling the story of a murdered friend that Dylan delivered on “Hurricane.” Morby’s solo sounds aren’t terrifically far removed from his work with Woods and the Babies. Tunes like “Our Moon” work in the same spooky acoustic colors as those bands, but look deeper into Morby’s songwriting, his husky vocals guiding deceptively simple arrangements that bloom abruptly into unexpected instrumentation and structure shifts. Likewise, there are unexpected stylistic spikes to Still Life. “Drowning” rides a delay–drenched beat that merges spacy electronic drums and bouncy Pet Sounds bass, while the droning “Dancer” finds Morby multi–tracking his vocals over a meandering guitar pattern, creating a strange and airy environment that sounds akin to nothing else on the album but somehow fits perfectly. The upbeat “Motors Runnin” is a standout, addressing the endless and unpredictable ride of being alive while summing up the restless wonder, excitement, and confusion that lie at the core of the album and find a different voicing from song to song."
♠ C'est le second album solo du bassiste de Woods. Ecoute agréable.
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As a solo artist:
♠ Harlem River (2013)
♠ Still Life (2014)
♠ Songs of Shame (2009)
♠ At Echo Lake (2010)
♠ Sun and Shade (2011)
♠ Bend Beyond (2012)
♠ The Babies (2011)
♠ Our House on the Hill (2012)