Brighton-based two piece Morning Smoke are a band with potential. New single ‘What A Shame’ is a dreamy blend of smartly recorded drum beats and clean-yet-crunchy guitar that create a kind of post-indie that harbours a shoe-gaze aesthetic.
The sound made by Milo Mcnulty and Max Wright is surprisingly full for a two piece and with the inclusion of a bassist could easily become fuller still. Unfortunately by leaving out a bassist, the song relies too heavily the drums to carry the rhythm of the song, and as a result there’s an underlying flatness within ‘What A Shame’ which let’s it down, specifically from 2.18, as it’s from here the song builds to a climax, something which would have been more effective with a bass line to give the song just a little bit more meat.
As it happens however this is still a song which, with a little improvement, could be fantastic. The understated minimalist approach is obviously something both the guys in Morning Smoke hold dear and it’s a sound that works for them, however without a bassline (not strictly a bassist) the song really does just sound too minimalist to appeal to me personally.
The production quality of the vocal track is something which also needs addressing. Under-produced vocals may well add to overall aesthetic of the song. But rarely are the lyrics discernible over the top of the high pitched guitar, which is something that detracts from the overall feel of the song even more so than the lack of a bass line to carry the track forward.
In every review I write I try to see at least some good, even if I don’t like the track. That isn’t the case here. I can’t stress that I do like ‘What A Shame’. It’s is a well written and well structured song that suffers only from a lack of experience and not lack of talent. The song, although stripped and minimal, is a decent song, and the sound works well for the band. It’s a shame that what could be such a solid record is hampered by unprofessional production on something as key as the vocals. There’s a fine line between under-producing and over-producing, and this track falls in to the former really quite vigorously. That, however, doesn’t mean the band aren’t worth checking out. In a year or so they could come back and make me eat my own words. And I really hope they do.
Editor of Words For Music. Love music and support each other.