Friday, May 9, 2014

Morning Parade Puts Out Pure Joy

Steve Sparrow, Morning Parade
When Steve Sparrow (lead vocals, piano, guitar) and Phil Titus (bass) met at the Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow, they quickly became friends and later coworkers. But even so, the lineup of what would eventually become Morning Parade was some ways off.

It wasn't until 2003 that they met Chad Thomas (guitar) at Harlow College to form a short-lived 5-piece band called Anotherstory that broke up in 2007. For many musicians that might have been it, but Sparrow kept on producing acoustics and playing around Harlow until meeting Andy Hayes (drums) and Ben Giddings (piano/synths) to round out a new 5-piece called Morning Parade.

Despite the right lineup and growing playlist, Morning Parade seemed destined to take the long road. They rebuffed early offers by record labels until Parlophone signed them in 2010. Within a few months, they were touring with The Wombats and Smashing Pumpkins. And now?

Pure Adulterated Joy is a smashing sophomore album.

Although Morning Parade is only slowly lining up venues as part of its whirlwind U.S. tour for Pure Adulterated Joy, expect this to change as the album earns more play time. The first track from the 10-pack album has already earned high marks and an iTunes track of the week on its initial release.

The track, Alienation, is is a lyrical thunderstorm that aims at redefining life with a less hectic schedule. The value of it isn't being busy, but experiencing every little thing that adds to it.

If you have a chance, give the acoustic version a listen too. It's not on the album but the video version is easy enough to find. They released an off-album video version of Reality Dream too. On both occasions, the alternative arrangement allows the melody and lyrics to strip away the alternative rock presentation and reveal folk compositions that have become Sparrow's calling card for years.

Reality Dream is about being happy with who you are and what you have instead attempting to capture manmade measures of success. It works equally well as a synth-driven rocker or folk hero.

Culture Vulture makes a similar connection to the band's recasting life theme, this time without medication, exploration, or excessive consumption that only adds to society's ever-mounting anxiety. In some ways, it feels very much like nineties grunge but with a much more buoyant presentation.

It's an interesting twist given that many critics dismissed their debut as "too marketable." Here the band seems to be taking aim at the mass media formula (while never giving up their own ambitions to some day play stadiums). It's clear they've hit a sweet spot between relevant and radio friendly.

Other standout tracks include the straightforward opener Shake The Cage, the band showcase Car Alarms & Sleepless Nights, and underrated atmospheric anti-ballad Seasick. Meanwhile, Autoinjector and Love Thy Neighbour give up more of the band's rock and roll underbelly while adding some much needed diversity to their music.

Pure Adulterated Joy By Morning Parade Bangs Away 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

All told, Pure Adulterated Joy provides the right one-two for a band that has been around longer than its two albums suggest. They know what they are doing and have obviously stumbled on the right way to compose thoughtful songs with a big stadium-sized sound. Turn it up one or two.

Pure Adulterated Joy by Morning Parade can be found on Amazon or downloaded from iTunes. You can also order Pure Adulterated Joy from Barnes & Noble. For tour information, check Facebook. The album was produced by Ben Allen (Animal Collective).
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