Max Morrison has brought together a brand new band for his album Death of Autumn which offers a refreshing blend of alternative, folk and ambient. Morrison plays the guitar and cello and utilizes both instruments in on the album. Lucky for the audience he's incredibly talented at both and so are his endearing vocal skills. Alongside him is Justin Avdek on bass or electric guitar, and Evan Follmar on percussion. The brand may be new but Morrison has been writing these songs for a couple years and is ready to take them out on tour with his new band mates. Since Morrison is local to the Gran Rapids area of Michigan, I imagine that's where he'll start and after listening to the album, part of me is tempted to trek up North to see him live,
The music is very pretty in the way that it is innocent at its core. Death of Autumn is such an appropriate name because that it the image the music creates. When I hear the intricate guitar riffs I can see crinkled leaves snapping off branches and being blown away into oblivion. The album was recorded at Addison's Analog Time Machine which a home recording in the woods of North Muskegon, Michigan. It's easy to tell that the band's surroundings seeped into the music's brew during the recording process. The cello is so pastoral and rural. I certainly wouldn't place this album under the traditional label of a "feel good" album, but it did makes me feel good. There's this thick layer of dankness that permeates everything. Sometimes the mood goes dark or even creepy but that is all counter-balanced by plenty of charming stories and memories. I felt isolated and cozy and longing for a nature hike while listening.
I appreciate the soft, monotone nature of the album. Nothing pops out of nowhere, lots of slow builds. My only complaint is that some of the tracks fail to find a structure that was stimulating. It felt like this is where Morrison wanted to focus on the stillness of nature and really hone his ambient skills.
A good example is track three, "Fools Are We." This song was steeped in darkness and stillness and maintained that mood but I think what was lacking was tension or maybe even movement. There were a couple tracks like this where it felt like the songs were still taking root and needed a little more time and direction.
I think Morrison's work in this album is interesting in that it's a very honest love letter to nature and to his own experiences. No rose tinted glasses here, you get the muck but you also get the blooming flowers. It's all equal exchange and just felt so honest. I would put this high on my must listen list for anyone who needs encouragement to go into hermit mode for a while and be on their own.
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