Morning Bride: North Sea Rising – album review

Morning Bride ‘North Sea Rising’ (Imprint Records)
CD/LP/DL
Released 20th March 2013

Morning Bride rose to fame amidst a shower of accolades for the debut album release ‘Lee Valley Delta Blues’. The band’s second album will doubtless be welcomed with open arms by their many fans. ‘North Sea Rising’ is beautifully packaged within a sea green wave album cover design by Jonah Schulz, suggestive of the sounds within. You wilfully surrender yourself to being swept away by powerful currents, only to be buoyed up by the bright orange life rings that bob above the image of the waves, reflecting an up beat guitar driven pace. ‘North Sea Rising’ leans away from pure melancholia towards a delicious embrace of the dark with the resolutely vibrant.

Amity Joy Dunn’s spellbinding voice enchants with something more than beauty, like the mermaid calling. The blend of her tones with Mark Pearson’s vocals gives an added depth of timbre teasing out the playful nuances of his lyrics. Dreamy harmonic blues are anchored by lead and slide guitar from Pete Bennett who weaves subtle layers and texture into the recording. The mix in complemented by Christine Lehman’s soulful violin and tempered by Jim Bosher on percussion.

A reedy vocal and classic, rhythmic strokes of slide guitar ease us in to the waves of sound on ‘Blue Eyed Boy’. ‘KX’ abounds in lyrical darkness, leading into taught instrumentation. ‘Rosy, Technology’, a strip-it-all-back nostalgic take on the here and now, mixes seductive tones with blues twang and dreamy bittersweet vocal.

Characterising the band’s alchemy of dark mood with lush sound waves, Death Rattle is more tongue-in-cheek roots than lament, from ghosts of a former desire. With a quirky illusive lyric and powerful imagery, title track ‘North Sea’ gives us the ocean, rhythms of the tide, sea foam ‘lily white horses’, splinters, arctic wind and the chill of the line: ‘who’s ever going to sing your song now you’re tired of your own voice?’ The album closes with a lofty Americana/Cajun finish from Pete Bennett ‘lets get married in a shoe box and raise up some kids…… the walls are paper thin but we ain’t got secrets.’

With waves of harmony, stirring vocals and beguiling blues ‘North Sea Rising’ is a subtle yet triumphant return.

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