Year of the Album — #025
The Morning Birds – “The QUICKENING” (2011, Independent)
Sometimes, despite how much indie praise an album is receiving from seemingly every corner of the online world, you’ve got to come out and admit it: the emperor’s wearing no clothes. In the case of the Morning Birds’ sprawling album The QUICKENING, listening to the entire album is an exercise in frustration. The musicians involved frequently can’t even manage to keep a rhythm steady for the full length of a three-minute track, let alone keep the vocals in proper pitch or tune. And with every track trying to take over a differing genre, the result is far from musical bliss.
The album is an effort by Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus to study the power of contrast. Instead, it’s an example of how musical pretension can outstrip any semblance of a cohesive vision when a band is left with no one at the editing station willing to say “enough’s enough.”. Once the music’s been endured, all you’re left with is a mountain of ideas, most of which failed to hit the mark. If you’re a music fan who likes to listen to something that’s recorded haphazardly and praise the band for focusing on a musical philosophy over finding mainstream success, you might find something to like in The QUICKENING … but for the rest of us, the album is a sprawling mess. Only die-hards will want to stick around for a second go-round.