Reviews

Kevin Morby
City Music

(Dead Oceans)

8/10

It feels like Kevin Morby is eager to reach a new horizon, musically speaking. Ex of Woods, The Babies and several other bands, this is now the Kansas man’s fourth solo album, and each has struck a different tone. Though this new record is pitched as the urban-inspired companion piece to last year’s country-led  ‘Singing Saw’, drawing from the city landscape rather than the bucolic, there is nothing here with the brassy energy and exuberance of a song like ‘I Have Been To The Mountain’. Rather, these are, for the most part, introspective, laid back songs about feeling lost in a crowded place.

The opening ‘Come To Me Now’ is darkly atmospheric, organ-haunted and Nick Cave-esque in feel, while ‘1234’ fuses the ghosts of The Ramones with the living corpses of The Strokes. Elsewhere, atypically, ‘Aboard My Train’ rides on squally riffs and a rough, buzzy melody.

The homages to Morby’s heroes are starkly obvious at times, from Lou Reed to Patti Smith. The languid vocal style on ‘Night Time’ is then clear-as-day Leonard Cohen, sliding easily over a lazily plucked steel-stringed acoustic guitar before, later in the song, a beautifully relaxed piano part.

This is a very natural sounding record, effortless in form, stylistically distinct and completely coherent. Sepia tones ooze from every groove to make ‘City Music’ suit warm, hazy Sunday afternoons; a glimmer of light reflected on spinning black vinyl that shimmers with a lazy cool.

Subscribe to save Loud And Quiet

The COVID-19 crisis has really hit Loud And Quiet hard, cutting off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded what we do in order to keep the magazine free for our readers.

Now we must ask for your help to save us.

If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, and if you can afford to, please consider subscribing to Loud And Quiet. With FREE delivery in the UK (international subscriptions also available), it works out to just £1 per week.

If we don’t receive enough subscribers, we’ll be closing down.

We’ll post you our next 6 issues, a handmade lockdown fanzine, access to our digital editions, an L&Q brass pin, playlists, a bookmark and some other extras.