Wednesday, May 07, 2014

EP Review :: Morning Smoke - In Euphoria

Morning Smoke

In Euphoria

May 4 2014 (Stray Cat Records)


Words: Dave Beech

Sometimes contrary to popular belief music journalists don't mind being wrong; in fact, we can actually quite enjoy it, especially if it means that a band followed from almost their outset have defied expectations and are slowly transforming into the band you knew they could be, despite a pretty negative first impression.

For me, one such band is Brighton's Morning Smoke, a four-piece who blur the lines of contemporary indie and nu-gaze, and whilst they're not without their foibles, the way in which they've progressed over the course of the last 12 months really can't be sniffed at.

With 'In Euphoria', their debut EP (or “mini-album” as it's being touted) the band really seem to have come in to their own. Originally slated for release last autumn, the majority of 'In Euphoria's six tracks have appeared online in some form or another before now. Though here, as part of a collection, they feel much fuller and much more accomplished than as the individual releases; whilst those previousky unheard ('Blue Ribbons', 'Loathed') exhibit a stronger, more confident band who are a far cry from that which recorded 'What A Shame' all that time ago.

Somewhat rather fittingly the record ends with what is also its highlight – the eponymous and anthemic 'In Euphoria'. Beginning with an introduction one might expect from a band such as MONEY, only without the almost-falsetto vocals, the track soon undergoes a key change, resulting in an explosive conclusion to the EP. It doesn't matter that the vocals of Milo McNulty are borderline indiscernible beneath an uncompromising crescendo, or indeed across the record entire with tracks such as 'Blue Ribbons' and 'Melancholy' channelling the lo-fi energies of bands such as My Bloody Valentine.

It seems to have taken Morning Smoke a lot longer than other bands to really get the ball rolling. But from their early days as a bass-less two-piece, to the confident and fully evolved four-piece they are today, the change has been nothing short of awesome. The first time I reviewed them I said they had potential but there was also something lacking, with 'In Euphoria' they've both proven me right and quashed any doubts I had about them going in to this review. This is a band who didn't hit the ground running, but have found their stride now.

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