Music

Gurf Morlix: Finds the Present Tense

There are two ways to deal with finding “the present tense". One is identifying the cause and working for change. The other is taking an aspirin. Morlix seems more in need of an aspirin.


Gurf Morlix

Finds the Present Tense

Label: Rootball
US Release Date: 2013-03-05
UK Release Date: 2013-03-25
Amazon
iTunes

Brian Wilson used to look for good vibrations. That was the sixties. Times have changed. Gurf Morlix lives in the present, where life is tense. Every day the headlines ring with new traumas. Morlix feels heavy vibrations.

Unfortunately, Morlix doesn’t really explain why. He notes that there is hate and fear in the world and offers metaphors of locusts and famine, but these seem timeless and work against his lyrical conceit that now is worse than before. Musically, the tune of “Present Tense” itself is familiar, reminiscent of the late Warren Zevon’s “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”, which adds to the lack of imminent danger suggested by the title. There are two ways to deal with finding “the present tense.” One is identifying the cause and working for change. The other is taking an aspirin. Morlix seems more in need of an aspirin. The times demand more.

This sense of being on the sidelines does not always mean he cannot participate. On “Gasoline” Morlix notes he didn’t start the fire -- in this case a metaphor for “wild desire” -- he just poured on the petrol after the match had been struck. The low key way in which Morlix delivers his lines and the lilting instrumental background contrasts with his self-described feelings in an odd way. One is supposed to believe he’s being burned up by hot emotions as he sings and plays in a slow and quiet manner. Maybe. The old axiom about the quiet ones being the most dangerous comes into play here. Still, I wish he would have turned up the speed and increased the volume to express his passion.

On the longest track, the eight-minute “These Are My Blues”, Morlix sings about wallowing in his emotions all night long. The words about a cheating lover suggest he's mad, but again Morlix seems to be caught in a miasma of feelings rather than being angry. He doesn’t raise his voice or play nasty notes. Maybe he should just wash away his shallow troubles with Calgon.

Yet Morlix’s stoicism, both vocally and instrumentally, may be his greatest strength. It allows him to represent those who feel their lives have already been taken by forces beyond their control on every level. The world may not be their home, but neither is their home with someone who just happened to be the one they are with. The characters exemplified by Morlix are looking for others in which they can find themselves, a fruitless search by its very nature. They are bound to keep searching for something they cannot find.

These are the silent majority of now, the ones no longer looking for good vibrations and not angry enough to wail against the evils of the day. The closest Morlix gets to criticism is his poppy anti-gun rant, “Bang Bang Bang”, that notes the problems of too many bullets flying without really identifying why or what needs to be done. Sure, music should not be propaganda, but it needs to offer some insight. Morlix is satisfied to represent the innocent bystander. No wonder he is so tense.

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Music

Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.

Music

Between the Buried and Me's Baby Pictures Star in 'The Silent Circus'

The Silent Circus shows Between the Buried and Me developing towards the progressive metal titans they would eventually become.

Music

The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.

Music

Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.

Film

In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?

Music

Maestro Gamin and Aeks' Latest EP Delivers LA Hip-Hop Cool (premiere + interview)

MaestroAeks' Sapodigo is a collection of blunted hip-hop tunes, sometimes nudging a fulsome boom-bap and other times trading on laid-back, mellow grooves.

Music

Soul Blues' Sugaray Rayford Delivers a "Homemade Disaster" (premiere + Q&A)

What was going to be a year of touring and building Sugaray Rayford's fanbase has turned into a year of staying home and reaching out to fans from his Arizona home.

Music

Titan to Tachyons' Experimental Heaviness on Full Display via "Earth, And Squidless" (premiere)

Featuring current members of Imperial Triumphant, Titan to Tachyons break incredible new ground in the realm of heavy music.

Music

Jerry Leger Teams with Moby Grape's Don Stevenson for "Halfway 'Til Gone" (premiere)

Reminiscent of Lee Hazlewood and the Everly Brothers, Jerry Leger's "Halfway 'Til Gone" is available on all streaming platforms on 6 August.

Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.