Good Morning

REVIEW: Good Morning - Prize // Reward

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Raquel Dalarossa

Australian duo Good Morning, made up of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons, have been releasing DIY tapes together since 2014, even getting so far as to re-issue their earlier releases, Glory and long-held fan favorite Shawcross. But even so, with just two EPs and a few other singles out, it may be surprising to learn that they’ve amounted over 11 million Spotify plays for their most popular song, “Warned You.” That is, of course, if you haven’t actually heard them yet.

Good Morning’s music exudes a cozy and charming warmth through every ridiculously catchy guitar riff. Known for experimenting with their recording equipment, techniques, and locations, the band seem to approach their work as true craftsmen, with perhaps a touch of perfectionism. That might explain the slow build up to their overdue debut full-length release, the ten track-long Prize // Rewardthe album’s Bandcamp page reads, “We recorded it for a while (maybe longer than we should have).” But taking one’s time and laying low all the while is a luxury that may well be on its way out for this group; Good Morning seem bound for the same hype that, for example, propelled the band Whitney to indie stardom.

And that’s for good reason. On Prize // Reward, the twosome’s talent for well-written guitar hooks, paired with a certain insouciant flair, is on full display. With songs like “Mirror Freak” and “$10,” their hypnotic guitar lines and vocals tinged with an ever-so-slight twang are endlessly enjoyable. Such an approach places them smack in the lineage of “slacker” rock a la Parquet Courts and Pavement before them, but Good Morning flex these elements in all sorts of ways.

Languid, reverb-y vocals sometimes recall Mac Demarco, especially in a track like “Who’s to Blame,” while a lower-fi framing can bring to mind the songwriting of Robert Pollard, as in “After You.” In the latter, they create a cozy and soft aural texture that sounds like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, but a horn-assisted outro keeps it from getting at all somnolent.

Those kinds of unexpected details allow their music to stretch far beyond the slacker rock label (or any label for that matter). See “For a Little While,” which indulges in a long instrumental interlude that feels like a sort of rumination, with an inquisitive, unresolving bassline, anxious saxophone solos (courtesy of Glenn Blair), and a repetitious piano motif that keeps you in place for perhaps longer than you’d like. It feels both idle and restless.

When a band manages so deftly to meld the original with the familiar, it strikes the magical balance of feeling soul-grabbing at first listen, and rewarding with every return. There’s no doubt good things are in store for Good Morning.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Good Morning - To Be Won

Will Shenton

With the release of their last EP, Glory, Melbourne lo-fi group Good Morning showed an impressively dynamic range. From the soporific opener, "Overslept," to more energetic rockers like "Cab Deg," their unmistakably laid-back style wound its way through ups and downs that gave the album a substantial narrative feel. And now, the down-tempo track "To Be Won" has a video to match.

Set on some kind of ad-hoc soundstage, dimly lit save for the reflections of a hand-held disco ball and a lamp they insist on using like a microphone, very little actually happens in the video. It's an interlude, depicting the band messing around and drinking beer, as if they're still setting up for the shoot. The whole thing is presented through a heavily distorted lens, complete with tracking tears and running primary colors like an old VHS tape—all in perfect harmony with a song that feels like flopping resignedly onto the couch at the end of a long day.

"To Be Won" comes as Good Morning get ready to reissue their Glory and Shawcross EPs on a single vinyl release, which you can pre-order here. They're also kicking off a European tour this September, with updated dates here.

REVIEW: Good Morning - Glory

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Will Shenton

By the time late January rolls around, I'm usually pretty done with winter. There's still a blizzard or two kicking around, but the novelty has worn off and as the days gradually lengthen I find myself tallying the hours until spring like a prisoner in some hackneyed revenge flick. But, that's why I moved to California, so I guess I'm not allowed to bitch anymore—even if it did hit 45 last week in San Francisco (sorry, East Coast friends).

The reason I bring this up is that Glory, the latest EP from Melbourne-based slacker-rock group Good Morning, is exactly the sort of thing I end up seeking out this time of year to get me through the winter doldrums. It's more than just the beachy guitars that draw me in—there's something particularly endearing about the album's hazy, lackadaisical tone that puts it right up there with Deerhunter in its ability to capture the carefree atmosphere of summer.

"Cab Deg," arguably the closest thing Glory has to a single, is a perfect example of this. The drums are simple and hypnotic, the guitars are ever so slightly out of tune, and the vocals are drenched in so much reverb it sounds like every word has an extra syllable. It certainly follows the recipe for a laid-back surf jam, but it manages to do so without feeling formulaic.

The rest of the EP takes each of these elements and makes them the centerpiece of their own song. "To Be Won" is a droning, down-tempo acoustic track with no percussion at all, "Give Me Something To Do" introduces a saxophone section to balance its almost shoegazey sound, and "The Great Start" sounds like something straight off of a Matt Mondanile record. It's a deconstruction of the genre, to a certain extent, and it turns what could've been a fairly forgettable album into something self-aware and engaging.

Sadly, Glory is a bit short (coming in at just 23 minutes), but I'm hoping we can expect a sophomore full-length release sometime in the relatively near future. It'll be interesting to see how these guys adapt their sound to a more comprehensive structure, as they've grown quite a bit since their 2014 debut Shawcross. In the meantime, though, this EP is going to be the soundtrack to my pining for the equinox.