MortonValenceLeftArtwork

Morton Valence have a habit of referring to themselves as an “urban country” act, as though they’re the Flying Burrito Brothers in snapbacks and hi-tops. In reality, the London-based quintet are scarcely anything of the sort. Granted, there’s an acoustic sensibility evident here, but if anything, this third release is missing any kind of cohesive thematic narrative. Ironically, this inconsistency has itself become a running theme throughout the band’s discography; a whole that’s less than the sum of its parts.

Here, for instance, several songs channel spaced-out bossa nova, ‘Thank You and Goodnight’ is a slice of late-night easy listening and, apropos of nothing, ‘Old Punks (Part 2)’ is an incongruous blast of ’80s hardcore. Individually there’s nothing wrong with most of these songs and some, such as Kinks homage ‘The Return of Lola’ and epic slow-burn opener ‘The Day I Went to Bed for 10 Years’, are really quite excellent. All the more’s the pity that they’re buried on such a patchwork album thats randomness is confirmed by it’s cover art of Joseph Stalin.

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