Beck: Morning Phase

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BECK HANSEN’S first album in six years (barring 2012’s sheet music-only Song Reader) has been marketed as a companion piece to 2002’s Sea Change, one of the American polymath’s best and most successful records to date.
Whether it can be classed as a return to form, therefore, is a moot point, but it is certainly marvellous.
Folky and warm, you can almost hear the hazy sunshine breaking through the blinds as the Beach Boys battle with Gram Parsons for control of the stereo on Morning (the churchy 39-second Cycle having given the album a suitably reverent introduction).
The mood switch stays on blissful throughout, but it appears unlikely that the same can be said for Beck’s personal life, if the lyrics are anything to go by.
“I’m so tired of being alone,” he sings on Blue Moon, while on the outstanding Blackbird Chain, which could be Evan Dando in his 1993/94 imperial phase, “I’d never, never, never, never, never refuse you” he pleads, presumably to a ready-to-depart lover.
Fans of Dando and others may protest that nothing on Morning Phase is particularly original but in many ways that’s irrelevant; the only urge you feel at its end is to play it again, not to revisit any well of inspiration.
Like this? Try these: Lemonheads: Come on Feel the Lemonheads; Gram Parsons: GP

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