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 Londonbased quintet are scarcely anything
of the sort.Valence
Granted, there’s an acoustic sensibility evident here, but
if anything, this third release is missing any kind of cohesive
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 latenight 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.
It’s also coherent as an entirepiece. There’s been a lot of talk
recently about the fact that ‘albums are dead’.
Apparently, in an era in which digitalism rules everything and people only listen to Spotify, we should be more engaged with playlists instead. However, ‘LP1’ is best experienced in its entirety, as an
album, and is a triumph for its sequencer as much as anything else.
From the densely layered,
sweeping melodies of ‘Pendulum’ to the skeletal, Portishead-like beats of ‘Numbers’, it’s a lucid record in its disparities, like a mosaic made of mirrors.
To chop it up and inject it into playlists would be like showing
just one section of a painting.
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