The Morning Light – The Morning Light
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: September 23rd, 2008
There's always times when I listen to a band and immediately think something along the lines of, "they're going places" or "they'll be huge." More often than not, I'm usually wrong. Whether there was little to no promotion for the release or labels were just too busy trying to find the new Metro Station, there has been a lot of missed opportunities for the right bands to make it big because they never had the chance. The Morning Light were picked up by Fearless Records shortly after the release of their EP, The Sounds of Love, a collection of songs I enjoyed immensely and thought would get them a mass amount of recognition. With its summery pop-feel, its accessibility stuck out like a pimple on prom night. Unfortunately it never caught on like the way I wish it would've, so I had high hopes that the full-length would do what the EP didn't.
The band's debut, self-titled, album takes quite a different approach however. Instead of having the fun, upbeat songs that were on the EP, the album contains fun, upbeat - but more mellow songs. The release date for it was almost too perfect actually; it's a very "autumn" type album. Despite the vast difference in sound compared to the EP, it still holds a lot of the same attributes TSOL had, such as its catchiness and and vocal delivery, yet this time - better. Bobby Garver and Harrison Wargo lead the vocals on the album and while both of them are exceptional, Wargo's parts seemed to stand out a little more than Garver's.
On the album's opener, "Wake Up!," the listener gets a dose of just how different the full-length is musically opposed to the EP. Horns and other different instrumentation take place throughout the album à la Panic at the Disco's Pretty. Odd. and it goes together surprising nicely. "Done Writing Love Songs" and "Brand, New Friends" would be the standouts, as the two seem to be the ones that I've gone back to most when I wasn't listening to the album all the way through. A re-done version of "Clouds" is featured on the record, and while I (and probably most people) appreciate the fact they didn't just re-do the entire EP, the new version is far more superior. I would have liked to see what they could have done to the rest of the songs. Despite its high points, the lyrics do have their cheesy moments and the album does get a bit slow at times ("Virginia" and "This Way"). They do the slower songs well, but when I was expecting another song with a huge chorus, those songs came instead. The Morning Light ends with "Movin' Along," another one of my favorites, and the song that sounds the most like it could be an extra cut from the EP.
Overall, I can't say that every previous fan of the band will love this album. For me, it took a little getting used to since it's not exactly the type of follow-up someone would expect after listening to The Sounds of Love. Regardless, it's much more of an improvement in most aspects and once it finally clicks, it'll be hard to leave it alone.
I felt like "Brand, New, Friends" sounded most like the EP actually. I also think that the original version of "Clouds" was better (same issue as FTSK redos), but I am very glad they didn't simply put the old version on the CD (I'm looking looking at you, TFT). I really enjoy this album and I recommend everyone check out "Heaven & Hell" which is a bonus track that comes with the iTunes release.
It took me maybe two listens through the whole CD to really get into it. I've been following TML for a while just because I knew two of the members in the band. It's amazing how far they've come in only a year and a half or so. The EP was strong I thought, but almost too sugary-pop for me. I felt like a lot of those songs sounded too similar. The full-length is both surprising and pretty solid...
The current favorites off this album thus far are:::
Done Writing Love Songs
Brand, New Friends
Honest (Apologies Endless)