A throwback to the Brill Building school of sound and songwriting, New York quintet The Morning Pages serve up a rare find from a number of angles. In an effort to maintain more of an organic feel to the songs, The Morning Pages eschewed digital technology in favor of recording entirely in analog, making for a much warmer, more inviting sound on the five-song EP. Lyrically, lead vocalist and chief songwriter Grant Maxwell offers up some great stuff, particularly on “It Makes Me Cry”. With a style that blends indie rock, country, folk, soul and even a faint twist of earnest, ‘50s harmonies, the track is emblematic of the band’s signature sound, its introspective lyrics offering a melodic anathema to partners who drink too much. The more up-tempo “With the Lord” is colored with shades of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, jangling with clapping beats and Alec Higgins’ piano playing. Higgins, clearly the star of the five-piece’s instrumentation, pounds out a boogie woogie beat straight out of an Old West saloon, a key factor in giving the band its unique sound. Guitarist Kevin Drost is no slouch, either, laying down a fine, steel guitar counter melody on “Don’t Ask Me”. Whereas some full-length albums have you begging for them to be over, the five songs on The Company You Keep leave the listener wanting more.
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