1. Blue Winter 3/5
Morning Parade starts of their self-titled album with something that I can best describe as a relative of a Keane song from 2006. Here we’ve got an indie band delivering smooth vocals, deep lyrics, and a great guitar-driven chorus that reminds me of what their fellow Brits, the Mystery Jets or Ghosts, would play.
Blue Winter is both mellow “Some things will never wash away” and introspective enough “I’m just a heart in a cage“, but it isn’t the bam!-immediate-fave album opener I was expecting it to be. Either way, it’s a good preview for what the album generally sounds like.
2. Headlights 5/5
An upbeat track that you’d love to listen to while driving along a preferably traffic-free road, Headlights wins me over at the end of the chorus. “I am all too predictable” he goes, as I wonder if this might reign as a theme throughout the album. I’m not worried for this track, though – quality songwriting went into this one.
It’s a compliment to say that this is the type of tune you’d hear being promoted after the intro of a TV series, and something you’d be illegally downloading if you could – which, let’s be real, you will.
3. Carousel 3/5
With its low-tempo intro that flows well into the chorus, Carousel is a romantic-bordering-on-slightly-creepy track supported by harmonies and a constant beat-thump “All this time, in a hiding place,” and so forth.
Just alright for the third song in, it’s nothing I’d write home about and compared to the first two tracks, I’m wondering if the rest of the numbers will start sounding a little too similar. However, the “I long for the smell of your hair” line makes me hope the next one on the playlist is a little less touchy-feely.
4. Running Down the Aisle 4/5
Cue minimal piano intro cut to heavier chorus, and we’ve already got this pattern memorized by just the fourth track. Regardless, Running Down the Aisle is your perfect disillusionment song backed by a rough breakdown at 3:23 that just adds to the uncertainty you feel echoing in the singer’s voice.
5. Us & Ourselves 5/5
I’m a sucker for depressing songs but maybe that’s just because of how mid-tempo this track sounds. Lyrics-wise, it’s a tad bit cryptic: starting off with an idiom and followed by a bunch of comparisons that make me think the song is about confusion of self-identity and trying to be more than who you are.
That said, my mind is tired from over-analyzing words and the melody isn’t keeping me awake – that’s a good thing, mind you.
6. Under the Stars 4/5
Finally, something different and electronic! The lyrics are inspirational and uplifting, for a change, “I gotta bring you back to life, you and your heart” – like a friend cheering you up after you’ve had a really bad day. Under the Stars gives me a space-feel encouraged by that background beep and ends just as abruptly as it began.
7. Close To Your Heart 3/5
Going back to what the first track sort of sounds like, Close To Your Heart wants to compete with the rest of the tracks for your attention but ends up sounding like pieces of the songs before it and not delivering enough to be ranked differently. You’ve already had your fill six tracks ago and this seventh one is that extra soda can you don’t feel like drinking.
The song’s only highlight is the calm of 2:34 to 2:47, which by itself would have been a good enough reason to make this the album opener. Perhaps they should’ve stayed with simple dreamy keys instead of another guitar-drum-harmony combo that played itself out fast.
8. Half Litre Bottle 3/5
Taking cues from Matt Wertz, Half-Litre Bottle is the album’s short and heartfelt acoustic letter. It’s a nice change from the overbearing (at this point) drum beats that, if added to the song, would’ve made it lose its value.
But it all feels too little, too late.
9. Monday Morning 2/5
Maybe it’s because I’m bored already but this song isn’t doing much for me. We’ve gone from up-tempo to mid to low to basic and now we’re trying to go back to mid? Monday Morning sounds like it belongs on the higher level of the tracklist but ultimately, it doesn’t matter because I feel like I’ve heard it before, somewhere, on the same album.
I yawned as I typed this.
10. Speechless 3/5
Solo piano intro that lasted 7 seconds before a guitar kicked in and that was how long the smile on my face lasted, too. The verses sound somewhat generic, but lo and behold, the chorus “‘Cause you’ve got me right where you want me,” gives the song the boost it needs to make an impact; too bad it doesn’t sustain itself for long.
I’m thinking this might actually be a good closer because I’m ready to hit the sack.
OVERALL ALBUM RATING: 6.5/10
ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: Headlights, Running Down the Aisle, Us & Ourselves
While quite repetitive in song structure formula: slow/mellow/simple intro building up to drumming choruses, Morning Parade manages to make up for it with full lyrics and the indie-alternative rock edge that isn’t hard on your ears. If you’re a fan of English bands with pensive and thoughtful songs with a dash of brooding and heartbreak on the side, this is a no-brainer.
However, from the first track alone, you can easily recognize and accurately predict the type of songs that would follow in the tracklist; which unfortunately makes the rest of the tunes outdated before you’ve even reached them. Here’s hoping come next album, there’s a little less standard indie sound and more diversity in the tracks.