Two weeks ago, we took a sneak peek into the first singles of Greta Morgan’s project, Springtime Carnivore, and her self-titled debut album. “Name on the Matchbook” and “Sun Went Black” are 60s- & ’70s-inspired pop and neo-soul songs that are extremely catchy and singable. They are also clever yet fun, and their sound recalled the positive energy and buzz of Fitz and the Tantrums’ surprising in 2010 hit, Pickin’ Up the Pieces. Does Morgan meet the expectations set by the first two singles from the album as well as her previously released work?
Springtime Carnivore is a dazzling album – from the melodies to the classical pop song structures to the visual lyrics. As a result, it dazzles, captivates, and grabs your attention from start to finish, which is a rarity these days. And it’s not as if the album is 8, 9, or 10 songs – it’s fourteen songs (granted there are two short instrumental tracks) spanning over 46 minutes. Even the short prologue “Western Pink” is stunning in its simplicity and it sets the tone for the entire album.
“Collectors”, which was one of Morgan’s first singles dating back to almost two years ago, follows with its “doo-wop” pop vibe, and it perfectly blends into the uptempo and danceable hits, the Fitz and the Tantrums, neo-soul-esque “Name on a Matchbook” and the poppy, nearly jangle-pop, “Sun Went Black” that recalls The Dum Dum Girls.
The album then slows down a bit, highlighted by the brilliant ballad “Other Side of the Boundary”. Morgan’s voice resonates beautifully throughout the song, taking on the presence of June Carter and Neko Case. That is, her voice is delicately powerful on the single and sung with such emotion that one becomes entranced and lost as Morgan sings about being a stranger to all that is around her. Even lyrically, it matches Case’s allegoric style.
The next five songs make up the best combination of music on the entire album, which is saying something. “Keep Confessing“ and “Last One to Know” pick up the pace after the slower, more mellow midsection of the album. The former takes on a surf-pop sound that, like the album’s first two singles, is fun and catchy. The latter is quintessential ’70s pop that had hints of Olivia Netwon-John, Gloria Gaynor, and ABBA. “Two Scars”, another early single from Morgan, is the dreamiest single on the album that will have you swaying side to side.
“Talk to Me Slowly”, meanwhile, might be the most dramatic track. It reflects the sonic, emotive moods that Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten have captured in their outstanding 2014 albums. It’s a great lead in to “Creature Feature”, which is another classic ’70s pop tune with a dreamy quality to it.
After this nearly 18-minute whirlwind, the album concludes with two slower songs. “Find a New Game” is a track you might hear in a quiet bar back in the ’70s as Morgan reflects on the trials and tribulations of one she knew. “Low Clouds” is a fitting end to this retro-pop album. It’s merely Morgan at the keyboard playing a smokey lounge tune. You can’t help but sit back and smile as Morgan touches each key. And while the low clouds whisk away, the rest of the album is full of splendid, dazzling, pop tunes.
Springtime Carnivore, which was co-produced by Morgan and the incomparable Richard Swift, is out on Tuesday, November 4th on Autumn Tone Records. Purchase the album on iTunes and Amazon. And check her in concert now, as she’s playing in several intimate settings in the US and only one in Canada (Vancouver). See the remaining tour dates below.
|November 12, 2014||Los Angeles, CA||Troubadour|
|November 13, 2014||San Francisco, CA||The Chapel|
|November 15, 2014||Seattle, WA||Crocodile|
|November 16, 2014||Portland, OR||Doug Fir Lounge|
|November 17, 2014||Vancouver, NC||Biltmore Cabaret|
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