Review Summary: Everything you love -- or hate -- about bedroom emo in less than ten minutes.
There's something strangely endearing about a musician that self-deprecates openly. This mindset can result in poignant, raw and heartfelt music. However, there's a fine line between creating music that supports this type of emotional venting and music that indirectly mocks it. And there's the question of whether or not that's a bad thing in itself -- music that is essentially saccharine pop-punk operating under the guise of something more profound. If the end product is truly enjoyable, is it worth the effort to scrutinize the authenticity of the feelings that are being projected?
I ask this because there are innumerable instances where I was ready to write off an artist completely when I began to question their sincerity. In my curmudgeony state of omniscience -- due to the trials and tribulations only fellow 22 year olds would understand -- I occasionally sneer at the emotional output of musicians younger than myself. I consider my limited experience with marriage, children, drugs and poor self-esteem; and I find it difficult to imagine every dime-a-dozen teenage emo band I come across having the slightest idea what real problems
are. It is this pessimism bias that has prevented me from enjoying many bands in the past. Nonetheless, I cast aside these preconceived notions and gave Morning Effort a listen.
Morning Effort's latest EP, entitled I heard you the first time, it just wasn't funny
, begins predictably with twinkly guitar work that sounds like it was recorded with a cardboard box. The vocals exemplify youthful naivety, and are often sung in a shouted melody similar to Brand New on Your Favorite Weapon
. The lyrics are succinct, and are often belted in a raw fashion akin to Snowing, particularly on the blatantly titled 'shi
tty kinsella rip off'. Vocalist Matt Pollock draws primarily from themes of social anxiety, and the sense of paranoia that can often accompany it. For those who may have experienced social anxiety to some degree in their teen years, certain passages will feel all too familiar, particularly this excerpt from 'For Tabasco Use Only': "So I'm trying to be brave in an uncomfortable place / And these sceneries won't change at a normal form of pace / And I'm trying to see what I see as a different point of view."
The music on this EP is emo/pop-punk at a vulnerable level. As a whole, I heard you the first time, it just wasn't funny
is consistently catchy and lighthearted, but still fervent. The bass work is muddled and sloppy, but coincides nicely as it takes cues from the drummer. The drummer is competent and manages to even steal the show occasionally, notably with his tight use of cymbals during 'Jean Simmons'. Structurally, the songs are varied throughout, and the EP never feels too repetitive in its ten minute run time. All of the musical elements are well-suited to each other, though never really reach the level of energy required to get your blood pumping. Despite this, I heard you the first time, it just wasn't funny
manages to be an enjoyable listen.
I heard you the first time, it just wasn't funny
is an unexpectedly decent release from a relatively unknown band. While they never reach soaring new heights, Morning Effort have delivered an EP that will satiate fans of bedroom recorded emo music. If you're the type of listener who values profound emotions above all else, then you might be put off by Morning Effort's brand of naivety. But if you're willing to cast aside your reservations, you just might find something to love.