In the latest video from Morton Valence, Anne Gilpin twists, pirouettes and high-kicks her way through a nondescript English town, rendered lifeless by the black and white footage. Her surroundings, bleached of colour, are in stark contrast to the vitality and energy Gilpin displays through dance and song. By the end of the engaging visual, Gilpin moves away from the camera into the light and colour that has steadily seeped into the film as if she has elevated herself and even her surroundings through the force of her performance, giving life through her art. The video is a smart accompaniment to a great new song designed to lift us out of the everyday.
Musically, ‘It’s a Brand New Morning’ matches the video’s relentless energy and reinforces the song’s theme. The rolling percussion is fluid, over which warm bass pulses and rhythmic guitar provides the foundation for the voices of Gilpin and Robert ‘Hacker’ Jessett to rise up, finding unexpected melodic patterns. There are interludes in which ethereal strings spin and swirl, adding to the sense of sonic freedom, even urgency, with each musical layer helping to create a touch of something cosmic.
Gilpin and Jessett, the vocal duo at the heart of Morton Valence, produce songs that are full of vitality and surprise, blending genres into something entirely new that escapes definition. Certainly, there’s the influence of American country but the London-based band also bring a feel of real, quirky Englishness and it’s a balance that makes them sound fresh and different. There’s also great variety in their work with ‘It’s a Brand New Morning’ contrasting with the understated weariness and ‘urban country’ of the previous single ‘Summertime in London’. Both singles are taken from the brand new, self-titled album, which features pedal steel and production from the great BJ Cole and has just been released on Cow Pie Records, the label formed by Hank Wangford and Cole back in the 1970s. The album is varied, ambitious and innovative, with well-balanced changes in pace and tone. Eight albums in and Morton Valence keep bringing us ‘brand new’ sounds. Check it out.
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