Morning Parade Defies the Odds

Morning Parade Album Review

I can hear it already.  “You’re writing a new album review nearly six months after it was released?  That’s real timely Cretin…

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Correct, this is not my most timely review, but after learning about the absolute crappy record company luck that these talented Brits have endured, I was anxious to hear their latest offering.

Morning Parade was all the buzz about five years ago, and rival record companies were itching to represent them.  The band chose Parlophone, as lead singer / guitarist Steve Sparrow recollects, “As soon as someone said Parlophone… The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Blur, Radiohead, all the bands that I grew up with, As soon as they showed interest, that was it, I only had eyes for them.”

But fairy tale pairings with record labels seldom have a happy ending, and the Morning Parade experience was no exception.  But through the adversity of a label merger, losing promotional funding and basically being tossed about the industry, this industrious quintet hunkered down and made some damn good music.

They broke through Alt-Rock radio with their huge hit, the addictive dreamy “Headlights.” It was the breakthrough they deserved and needed, but the euphoria was short-lived, as a record company merger again left them struggling for a label.

Back to the studio they went, securing a deal with independent SO Recordings which came with a few months of funding for studio time. The result: Pure Adulterated Joy, a damn good album that finds the band veering ever so slightly away from their pop roots and moving deeper into rock ‘n roll.

Honesty, I was a bit conflicted listening to the first track “Shake The Cage” which was just a bit of meandering mess, but from the first synth-driven notes of “Alienation” I was on board. From that point forward, the rest of the journey was a musical treat.

“Alienation” deserves to be a hit, and is every bit as captivating as “Headlights” was a few years ago. It’s an anthemic, meticulously-produced track about dealing with the hectic chaotic world Sparrow has found himself in. Somehow, the song never became a megahit, but it’s substantially more creative and catchy than most of the stuff polluting the Alt-Rock airwaves today.

The majority of the album becomes more of a guitar-driven offering, but the catchy hooks and intoxicating riffs we sample on “Alienation” continue throughout. At times, Morning Parade delivers refreshingly gritty garage rock edginess, reminiscent of The Replacements, while just as often we hear a sumptuous, well-polished album. It’s a fantastically balanced approach.

“Love Thy Neighbor” is an aggressive rocker with dramatic vocals and is the most hit-worthy of a handful of excellent tracks on the album. Stellar guitar work on aggressive rocker “Car Alarms and Sleepless Nights” also stood out, making it my favorite selection on a diverse offering.

It’s not too late to join the parade. Grab the album on iTunes below and let me know your thoughts (preferably before we lose another six months).

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