Morning After Girls, The – Alone
Record Label: Xemu Records
Release Date: January 11, 2011
The Morning After Girls are an Aussie 5-piece that mash a bunch of 80’s and 90’s indie influences together and somehow emerge with a cohesive, breathtaking sound. They’ve been compared to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain – and personally I hear some The Bends-era Radiohead vibe, too – but their end sound aims more for transcendence than that of their peers.
How is it?
According to members of the band, Alone was recorded in a refurbished church. “There was two ambient room mics hanging from the highest beam of the church, which captured this natural cavernous effect,” says vocalist Sacha Lucashenko. “We used them on everything, there’s no digital effects on the album at all. I’m not a religious man but there was a spirit to that place that left a stamp on these songs.” Whatever that “spirit” is, it’s evident on the album. Alone is a 12-track casket of downcast disposition, ethereal expanses, and hair-raising otherworldliness.
And somewhere, among all those mystical adjectives, The Morning After Girls manage to hold my attention. Never once does the music place aura above accessibility and stoop to unnecessary bombast. “Alone” might be the most seamless blend of pop drive and magical atmosphere to appear in years. The bridge is pure bliss too when it hones a guitar line under spacey effects. “Death Processions” cranks up those honed guitar lines and blares them like they’re hell-bent on broadcasting shoegaze to the whole world. And “The General Public” is part enigmatic, part downright contagious.
The best part is when things slow down, though. “Still Falling” is pristine the way its acoustic chords pave the path for full blown dynamics, making for one of the more entrancing tracks on the album. But nothing compares to “Part of Your Nature’s” heavenly yearn, which is just heartbreakingly beautiful – you’ll be more than hard-pressed to find a more lovely (recently written) song. That’s pretty much where Alone sits – you can point out the dense shoegaze influence, the occasional Brit-rock flares, anything, but in the end it does a good job of reaching past genre boundaries and into your soul.