Setting the mood
I can’t seem to stop listen to indie rock lately. I’ve learned to appreciate it more and more as the days go. The folk sounds are growing onto me. The almost mono toned vocals are sounded more unique to me, which each different band I explore. I discovered this band online, then decided to listen to this album “Singing Saw” by Kevin Morby as I was working on some client’s websites. The album is so chill, definitely the kind that’s never ceases to fail with me. After listening to this album all the way through maybe 3 different times, all I can say is “I have been to the mountain, and what a journey it was”.
Kevin Robert Morby was born on April 2, 1988 (Year of the Dragon, just saying). He is an American musician, singer and songwriter. Formerly known as the bassist of Woods and the lead of The Babies, he began a solo career in 2013 releasing his debut album Harlem River.
Morby learned to play guitar when he was 10. In his teens he formed the band Creepy Aliens. When he turned 17-year-old, Morby dropped out of Blue Valley Northwest High School, got his GED, and moved from his native Kansas City to Brooklyn in the mid-2000s, supporting himself by working bike delivery and café jobs. While living in Brooklyn, he became close friends and roommates with Cassie Ramone of the punk trio Vivian Girls, and the two formed a side project together called The Babies, who released albums in 2011 and 2012.
Following his move to Los Angeles, Morby recorded a collection of songs with Babies producer Rob Barbato which were intended to be an homage to New York City. Released in 2013 by Woodsist Records, the eight-song collection was called Harlem River and became Morby’s debut as a solo artist. While on tour, Morby wrote songs that were later featured on his second album, Still Life, in 2014. Morby then finally worked on his third album titled Singing Saw which was released on April 15, 2016.
First half of album is instrumentally creative. The slow playing guitar and the mellow drums beats in certain tracks make me feel relaxed and give every word he’s saying more impact.
Me saying this album is good is a huge understatement. The lyrics in in this album are deep and descriptive. From telling stories about fishing, to women crying, tracks like “Dorothy” show that his poetry is spoken with huge weight full emphasis. Kevin Morby’s work in this album is very rooted in classical instruments like pianos and violins to give sounds that blend so perfectly with his great lyrics. The trumpets were sure a great highlight of the track “I have been to the mountain”, I wish I could have heard it more.
Having said that, in certain songs his lyrics are sometime hard to make out. In tracks like “I have been to the mountain” show that this guy can make a killer track, but vocals are hidden sometimes the wonderful blend of trumpets and background singers. although trumpets were used in the first half of the album, I felt that wind instruments should be used more in second half of the album. Instead, we get minimalistic songwriting that can be related to country music sounds. I think more experimenting with unique instruments on higher tempos could be more explored more in second half of album.
Overall, Kevin Robert Morby is a genius, when it comes to creating a compelling album. This album that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who a fan of indie folk music. I hope to hear more from Kevin Morby, and hopefully see him live one day in Los Angeles. His new album can be purchased on Amazon. Don’t forget to check out other music reviews on The EXP Grind.
- Deep atmospheric sounds blend with the lyrics
- Poetry spoken with weight full emphasis
- First half of album is instrumentally creative.
- Lyrics are sometime hard to make out
- Album gets really slow half-way through
- Wind instruments should be used more in second half of the album.