Jacob Morris: Moths
The early days of adulthood are a magical time when having a job seems to mean you’ve got money to blow (until the rent comes due of course) and you’ve nothing to do but hang out with your friends. For me, those were the days when I could feel free from all of the angst and impatience that dominated my teenage years and just enjoy life. Jacob Morris’ new record, Moths, takes me back to those seemingly endless moments of leisure that are long since past.
Morris follows the path of no resistance on this record, effortlessly evoking the full folk rock sound that artists like Wilco, Simon and Garfunkel, The Minders, and The Shins have been known for. The album is a swift moving beauty that never rests too long on its laurels but always takes the time to be relaxed and open about itself. Track two, “Flowers (Myrtle)”, glows softly with the anxious excitement of young, developing love. On This track Morris strums confidently while he tells his story of going nowhere while experiencing so much in a confused, joyous state. The instrumentation is deceptively lush with steady percussion (drums, shakers, tambourine) and harmonious flourishes of woodwinds and keys.
The next track, “Spider”, is a cold and lonely place for thought. Here Morris wanes against age and memory, losing himself lyrically in a desolate evening while the spider weaves his web. An organ and a violin stir ever so slightly beneath his guitar part here, providing some excellent aural imagery as the leaves fall and the stars dance overhead. “Wet Cigarette” on the other hand is a bright, quick little number. The drums hold an almost latin-style shuffling beat while Morris sings above a smooth lead accented by a woodwind (an oboe or a clarinet I think). The fullness of this song leads excellently into the next tune.
“Dirty Dove” keeps the straight forward rhythm found in Morris’ other songs but provides some amazing variety in its composition. Some strange, meandering lead (I guess it’s a guitar but it could be a synthesizer) lumbers in and out of the song while the keys march alongside the drums. The vocals are beautiful on this song with a female voice harmonizing with Morris’ already soothing tones.
The album closes with the warmly genuine “Click of Your Watch”. Once again, Morris outdoes himself with the different sounds thrown into this one. There are digitized bells, woodwinds, lead guitar, piano, strings, and various percussion. This may seem like a busy bunch of instruments but the mix is excellent and gives everything a chance to be heard while keeping the focus on the song and its carefree vigor. Morris takes what really works for singer/songwriters (simplicity and feeling) and dresses it in fine threads to create this album. Moths is a fantastic interlude to the responsibilities of life, an escape to a time when nothing mattered more than sunshine and the company of good friends.
MP3: Jacob Morris: “Flowers (Myrtle)”