Like a fine wine, Beck Hansen gets better with age, and no exception can be made with his latest release. The follow-up to 2008’s Modern Guilt, Morning Phase is absolutely nothing like its predecessor – but listeners who enjoyed 2002’s Sea Change will be delighted.
The title itself acts as a direct indication of the album’s sound, with the delicate LP perfectly suiting the quiet, early hours of a morning when the sun first rises. The 13 intricate yet simple tracks mould into each other, seemingly carrying the power to soothe even the roughest of souls.
The layered vocals on tracks ‘Heart Is A Drum’, ‘Say Goodbye’, and ‘Unforgiven’ produce delightful indie vibes that match Hansen’s musings.
Smack bang in the middle is ‘Wave’. Minor notes see the track evolve into a deep haunting movement before drifting off with no particular ending, yet cementing itself as a standout.
Rounding it all off is ‘Waking Light’. Layered vocals harmonise whilst being accompanied by slow-paced percussion. Hansen croons, “When the morning comes to meet you/ Rest your eyes in waking light”. Falsetto and a distortion-loaded guitar solo concludes all in a drawling wall of guitar noise – making for a well-suited end.
If you’re looking for the angsty ‘loser’ of Mellow Gold, he’s not lurking around here. Morning Phase is poetic and emotional, a picture perfect album that seems like a film soundtrack.
Some may find the album monotonous, but in retrospect, it’s an exhibition of indie at its finest. It feels a little Coconut Records and a little Elliott Smith, but hey – the collection is best suited to those nights where you stay up at 3am, or those times where you just want to drop everything and drift away.
Listen to ‘Wave’ from Morning Phase here: