Morning Bride: Goodbye, Seaside Danny Wilde
Morning Bride, purveyors of lush Americana tempered by gothic shadows, make a welcome return with a third album, Goodbye, Seaside Danny Wilde. Bryony Hegarty reviews for Louder Than War
Mark Pearson, Pete Bennett and Amity Joy Dunn met in Hackney, their northern sensibilities (Yorkshire, Lancashire and Massachusetts) merging within East London five-piece ensemble Morning Bride. The band’s 2007 debut album Lea Valley Delta Blues shone like a beacon on musical horizons. The band were accordingly hailed “astonishing” by the Independent newspaper. In 2013, a second album The North Sea Rising from the core trio, found Amity and Mark living in Yorkshire, reflecting the landscapes of their new home.
In a similarly languorous cycle, Morning Bride have germinated a third album: Goodbye, Seaside Danny Wilde. The title references a real-life entertainer and Elvis tribute artist, offering up the salty flavours of seaside culture from a bygone era. Like a dilapidated film set retaining traces of a story, what better location for the departed souls that populate this album, than a Victorian coastal town in winter?
Set against tempestuous skies, lo-fi recordings focus on Amity’s enchanting voice, enhanced by understated backing from Mark and Pete. Additionally, the consciously stripped back instrumentation creates minimalist intensity ramping up the atmosphere. Thematically the album plays on religious motifs, contemplating darkness, death and departure, couched within uplifting, lingering melody.
Amity’s vocal launches, a soaring optimism rising from darkness on The Storm Clouds, a story of closure and new beginnings. Lush guitar washes up on the shores, hailing a new dawn. Following elegy, Just Visiting, evokes the temporal nature of our lives and human interactions. Intensifying the mood, Dear Hazel counterbalances bristling subterranean atmosphere and harmony, resonating sinister undertones. The tension in the song typifies the band’s ability to paint dramatic portraits and encounters of sublime melancholy. Embellishing the story further, Leucothia Rising invokes the mythology of a vengeful sea goddess. Amity’s seemingly boundless tones plumb unchartered depths as stirring guitar sends a frisson through the tune and crystal clear melodica adds maritime aura.
Seaside Danny Wilde recalls not just the former glory of a local character but also the promenade he walked upon in their respective heydays. Mark and Amity’s contrasting timbres paint a nostalgia-tinged, affectionate portrait. Reprise Danny Wilde subsequently revisits the track in an instrumental foray awash in wistful undulations.
Apollo 13 launches with a perilous aura, as a Casio keyboard weaves rhythmic swirls across the track. Whilst most of the album captures a mood largely insulated from the externally squalling pandemic, in contrast here, the refrain “sunny days in quarantine, we were burning up”, reflects contemporary horizons and a personal intensity. A parting shot of jubilance, The Good Seed, makes for a joyous end. “Bury my body down by the sea, I’m not going to hell or heaven” Amity sings brightly. Gospel tambourine and impish slide guitar emphatically joining her to stick two fingers up at mortality.
Words by Bryony Hegarty. You can read more by Bryony at her Author Archive