It’s a bold move to record your debut album live but its a gamble that has definitely paid off for East Anglian based 6-piece band “Morganway” . They have gained a fantastic reputation for their exciting and energetic shows and this all translates wonderfully on this hotly anticipated release which was announced in early May with a release date of this Friday (August 2nd) but I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview so I could give you my thoughts!
Founded in 2016 by twins Kieran and Calum Morgan , the latter is also their main writer and the eleven songs are a good mix of fast paced guitar/ drum driven tracks and haunting ballads . They are the perfect showcase for the blend of country/folk/rock that gives Morganway their pretty unique sound , and vocally their trademark three part harmonies are a total pleasure throughout. The distinctive, edgy leads from SJ Mortimer, one of the band’s two female members, are definitely a stand out feature for me, particularly on the uptempo numbers which I feel suit her better. Her voice has a definite Celtic edge to it which is frequently reflected in the fantastic fiddle playing of Nicole Terry and Kieran’s guitar solos are always superb. Callum takes lead vocals on a couple of the tracks, adding an extra dimension and more variety to the album. In fact one of these “London Life” stood out to me immediately on first listen and is definitely one of my favourites lyrically.
Fans of the band will already be familiar with several of the songs on the track listing as they have been incorporated into their live shows and released as singles over the past few months. “Frozen in Time” came out back in February, one of the album’s slower, more haunting tracks and ” Hurricane” which has become their closing number at gigs came out in April, in contrast this is a punchy number full of attitude. Yes, the band have already demonstrated their versatility as well as their all-round talent which is further evident on with their latest single, the album closer ” I Want No Other Love”. This is definitely one of my favourites from the album when it comes chilling out at home, it’s a song Calum describes as being about ” searching, getting close, but never reaching whatever it is you’re looking for ” although in general he has said that he feels it is important for the listener to make up their own mind when interpreting the meaning behind the songs. The accompanying video is a clever compilation of live footage from some of the bands recent festival appearances and headline shows
At the other end of the spectrum ( and album!) is its opening track ” My Love Ain’t Gonna Save You”, don’t be fooled by the stripped back, acoustic beginning, I absolutely love how it soon explodes and the energy moves up a few notches on the subsequent song ” Let Me Go” which is a particularly great track for showcasing SJ’s lead vocals and their overall harmonies and leaves me feeling quite exhausted! I really love the live version of this one too, recorded for one of Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree ” sessions which also helps demonstrate the band’s great chemistry
Yes, from start to finish this is a brilliant debut album from this talented band who are performing two album release shows this week, one acoustic and one electric , details and tickets for these and all their upcoming gigs can be found here ….I see their Green Note show in London is already sold out so don’t delay if you are thinking of booking for any others!
The album is available to pre- order/pre -save here : https://listnin.co/Morganway
‘Morganway’ – Tracklisting
1. My Love Ain’t Gonna Save You
2. Let Me Go
3. You Can Only Die Once
4. In A Dream (Coming Home)
5. Frozen In Our Time
6. London Life
8. New Way
9. Daylight Rising
10. I See People
11. I Want No Other Love
Review written by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)