Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Album Review: Fazerdaze - Morningside (2017)

Iggy Pop loves it, the NME raved about it, even the notoriously hard to please rock snobs over at Pitchfork gave it the big thumbs up. So you probably don’t need me to tell you how good the Fazerdaze full-length debut is. But I’m going to do that anyway …

Before I do, however, I should say that Morningside has been the source of some confusion for me. Mainly because when I saw Fazerdaze live and up close earlier this year, the set was played by a four-piece band. Yet, from all accounts amid the hype and hoopla surrounding the album’s release, and there’s been a lot of that, I keep reading that the album, with the exception of the odd bit of help here and there, was written, recorded, and produced in its entirety by Amelia Murray.

Which is quite something else altogether, and it really does mark Murray’s card as an exceptional talent. The whole thing is immaculately produced, pristine pop music, from start to finish. And yes, hindsight is wonderful, I now fully appreciate that it’s impossible for Murray to front these tunes in a live environment without a little helping hand. But for all intents, Fazerdaze is Murray’s project.
When an album is still in its post-release infancy – which Morningside surely is – there are a couple of key pointers which can help establish whether or not the work is going to stand the test of time.
The first is when you realise that the advance single releases – in this case ‘Little Uneasy’ and ‘Lucky Girl’ – aren’t actually any better than the rest of the material on offer. It means the quality control filter was set high enough, and it makes for a nice even no-skip listening experience.
The second key indicator is when it sounds better and better with each and every subsequent listen. Where you pick up little things, sounds that weren’t obvious before, when you hear something new every time you play it, and the album is able to bed into the subconscious with little or no effort at all.
Morningside ticks both of these boxes.

So what does it actually sound like?

Without wanting to single out specific tracks (see above), it might just about be the most highly polished thing ever released on Flying Nun. To date, at least. The attention to detail is next level, with ten tight crisp melodic power pop earworms all vying for the honour of being labelled the best thing on the album. Most of it is at the dreamy hazy shoegaze(y) end of the indie pop spectrum, but there’s also some darker fuzzy DIY moments to keep it sufficiently earthy.

But don’t take my word for it, or that of Iggy, just grab a copy and judge for yourself.

Check the clip below - 'Little Uneasy' ...

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