Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
While the independent music scene is ever-so-inundated with rock outfits, well-produced acts are still a rarity. Morrow’s Memory, a five piece group from Detroit, breaks that mold with their latest studio endeavor, an EP entitled ‘Take Control.’ The collection is an intriguing jaunt through hard, alternative, and metal rock musings that’s surprisingly cohesive, offering several twists and turns along the way for the listener.
‘Take Control’ is a succinct EP, one in which every song has its place in the sequence. This in itself is quite refreshing, because indie rock groups have a tendency to add lots of ‘filler’ to their records. There’s none of that here - all these songs are finely tuned and raring to go. ‘Bloodlust,’ the bombastic introduction to the EP, is a sharply orchestrated, passionately performed effort in which lead vocalist Tony Fitchett exhibits himself as an especially powerful frontman.
The lyrics of ‘Bloodlust’ are dark to say the least, with gems like “I will crush you by your first move” and “you will learn the meaning of what it is to be hopeless.” The nature of the track, however, alludes to it being almost conceptual in nature, as if Morrow’s Memory is taking on the persona of a bloodthirsty monster or vampire. Conversely, the haunting ‘Ones and Zeros’ is more sympathetic in nature, reaching out a metaphorical hand to a flailing person who is losing their will to live and burning bridges left and right.
Instrumentally, these early tracks also showcase chemistry amongst Morrow’s Memory. They began performing live seven years ago and the years show. Not a beat is missed on this EP. This is perhaps most obvious on ‘For You,’ a song that’s arguably the collection’s best effort. The vulnerable anthem of independence houses a searing guitar solo, thunderous percussion, and painful, relatable lyrics about a relationship falling to pieces.
In the great tradition of rock records, ‘Take Control’ provides the somewhat obligatory acoustic love ballad near the end of its run, a song called ‘Sapphire.’ In the shadow of the anger and loathing that is ‘For You,’ ‘Sapphire’ is a melancholy journey through a very different emotional spectrum. The lyrics sing of a hell one is born into, the fires of which can only recede when that person is with the one they love. Given how angry its predecessors are, ‘Sapphire’ is a much needed reprieve from that intensity.
The finale, ‘Find My Own Way,’ is somewhat of a perplexing number. ‘Take Control’ is a turbulent EP, and the resolution that the final song offers is rather open to interpretation. “Leaning on the edge of ever-after is all that I can do,” the song explains. It’s not entirely clear if the relationship that caused the songwriter such strife has been remedied in any way, and if it hasn’t, if it’s been abandoned. It may not matter, though, and listeners can each glean something different.
No, ‘Take Control’ isn’t a particularly cheerful album, but that’s surely not its intent. It’s an analysis of a dark time in one’s life, I’d wager, and how that person “took control” of their life moving forward into a better place. The performances are fantastic and the record is superbly produced, making Morrow’s Memory’s new EP one of the better rock releases of 2017 in the indie scene thus far.