Mark Morriss releases his 4th solo album ‘Look Up’ on 20th September via Reckless Yes Records. The Bluetones frontman is relentless on the live circuit but, four years since his last album (The Taste of Mark Morris), is the magic still there?
Fortunately for Morriss, the world flipped upside down politically and served his muse well. The Stevie Wonder inspired ‘All The Wrong People’, hilariously bashes the insane machinations of Trump aka the “big blonde hippopotamus”.
Live favourites ‘Rimini’ and ‘Roll Away’ follow similar paths. The former, written the day of the Brexit result, ended a year long bout of writer’s block. Full of sci-fi charm, Morriss deals with the shock of the referendum result. His ability to get across the aching feeling of lost in your homeland is remarkable.
‘Roll Away’ though, is another animal. Morriss, returning home from a Bluetones rehearsal, heard Anais Mitchell and Martin Green’s song on the radio. Struck by its message about refugee’s plight, re-recorded with stunning effects. With the Today Programme reporting daily on migrants crossing in dinghy’s, Morriss’ vocal brings home the haunting tragedy of those without.
Unsurprisingly, the record is littered with pop instincts, a hallmark of The Bluetones and his solo career. ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’, written by a campfire with his children, contains an elegant simplicity and beauty reflecting those surroundings. All the while, a nagging sense of a forlorn reality awaiting end feels inevitable.
The wholesomeness fades on ‘The Beans’. Morriss’ lyrical wit and savagery take aim at a tumultuous relationship. Meanwhile, on opener ‘Adventures’, Morriss twists and turns from country-folk to Roxy Music and Dexys via the sublime Saxophone work. Again, Morriss deals with the Brexit conundrum: examining the isolation its caused so many reasonable minded folks to endure.
Not only is the magic still prevalent, its flourishing. ‘Science and Nature’ is, for our money, Morriss’ pinnacle. ‘Look Up’ is full of creative risk taking which rivals
*Image courtesy of Ben Meadows