Kevin Morby’s ode to the bustling but lonely city and the music that soundtracks their existence. Morby’s 4th solo endeavour after work in bands including Woods and The Babies, City Music explores the stories, nuances and landscapes of city life from the haunting lonely pump organ on opening track ‘Come to Me Now’ to the raucousness of Ramones enthused guitars on lighthearted rock n roll number ‘1234’.
Recorded in L.A, Morby’s latest musical offering showcases an artist in high spirits, unafraid to let loose as heard on tracks such as ‘Aboard My Train’ and ‘Crybaby’. Morby himself even admits to a change to his prior sound heard on the critically acclaimed 2016 album Singing Saw, saying “I wanted to make an uplifting song. All of my songs have such weight”. However, despite Morby’s aims to create an uplifting homage to the cities in which he has resided all his life, the eerie whispers of loneliness that have been a staple part of Morby’s solo career are still present and are as hauntingly beautiful as ever.
As an emerging songwriter leading a current surge in US indie rock, Morby dons the character of an individual alone and lost in the cramped, claustrophobic, social hubs that many individuals amass to. Morby even sings “I am no one but a face/ Just a stranger in a strange, strange place” on ‘Tin Can’. These explorations into loneliness create an image of an individual drawing the blinds on the bustle of city life, falling into a form of social isolation, much like that of which Morby recorded the album in L.A.
“The record can be pieced together as a collective of lost souls searching for their place within a big city.”
The record can be pieced together as a collective of lost souls searching for their place within a big city. The upbeat strut of tracks such as ‘1234’ and ‘Aboard My Train’ which hark back to New York City legends The Ramones and Chicago born Patti Smith combine with City Music’s dark desolate moments, as seen in the Dylan influenced ‘Night Time’ and Bill Callahan esque ‘Downtown’s Lights’.
Morby epitomises the need for communication and unity within the array of personas he explores and unearths on the album. From the leather jacket and converse wearing indie rocker to the the idea of someone who’s never seen the bright lights of a city on ‘Flannery’, and even the reclusive woman in ‘Come to Me Now’ who shuts out the outside world and city music. Kevin Morby’s 4th solo album, City Music, brings together all those who have felt outside of the mainstream and lost within the constant humming of city cars and sirens. An album of joyous release, freedom and unity even in the overwhelming loneliness of the city.
Best Tracks: ‘Come to Me Now’, ‘City Music’