Here's a little cure for the Monday morning blues:
I've mentioned Matt Morris here before, but with the recent release of his debut LP, When Everything Breaks Open, I think his name is certainly worth bringing up again. Morris released his first EP a couple years ago, a collection of bare, acoustic tracks recorded, as the title says, backstage at Bonnarroo. But with his new full-length, Morris transitions into much more pop-oriented territory with five previously-released songs and nine new tunes presented with a full compliment of guitars, bass, drums, strings, and smoother production that he actually wears quite well. This diverse selection of tunes provides plenty of reasons to make this newcomer one that deserves our attention as 2010 gets on its way.
The most powerful weapon Morris holds in his arsenal is his high, smooth voice, which is equally effective on simple ballads and funky pop songs. He also shows genuine songwriting talent throughout the album, evident even on some of his more straightforward songs like "Money" or "Love," though, as is so often the case, he's best when he goes for the unusual. For example, the blend of strings and pounding drums on "The Un-American" gives the pointed social commentary an odd but somehow fitting backdrop, while the strange and soulful funk of "You Do it For Me" makes for a danceable, left-of-center pop tune. Hopefully, Morris will continue to build upon this knack for combining accessible hooks and more exploratory ideas as they form most of the record's best moments.
The album is a sprawling one, covering nearly seventy minutes with its 14 songs. But though listening to the entire thing at once may seem somewhat daunting, Morris makes good use of the time in showcasing different sides of his musical personality and the result is an enjoyably varied debut. When Everything Breaks Open is very much worth your time to check out as I suspect its title will prove to be descriptive of Morris' career soon.
Watch Matt Morris perform a stripped-down version of "The Un-American":