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Morning Glory

War Psalms

(Fat Wreck; US: 4 Mar 2014; UK: 3 Mar 2014)

Morning Glory presents another set of refreshingly experimental pop-punk on War Psalms. The band, fronted by Ezra Kire, delivers lean hooks and power chords—see catchy gem “Standard Issue”—but they also trade in various sounds and textures. “I Am Machine Gun” erupts in metal darkness and huge, military horns. “War Dance” filters a street-punk leanness through heavy prog spaces. Both “Carry On” and “Home Free” are quiet, folky piano-based pieces. Through it all, there’s a throughline, a galvanizing force against powers that might work to divide. The songs here always feel bigger than just the band, and that generosity of sound makes War Psalms the band’s best set. In all its textural expansion, sometimes the immediacy of the song itself can get lost, and songs like “National Anthem” might push too hard at political ideas that are much subtler elsewhere on the record, but overall this is a solid and surprising set from a band that confronts us by pulling us into its wandering sound.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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