Review Summary: The Canadian singer/songwriter that pulls all the right strands from Neil Young and Nick Drake.
There seems to be something people eat and drink up in the northern regions, particularly Canada, that breeds a series of singer/songwriters with substance. Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell… you can go on and on. Even the more recent scene doesn’t lack such names, like Hayden. On the evidence of “Fall”, his second album, you can freely add Morgan X Barrie to that list.
Barrie exemplifies all the characteristics of what you could call exemplary singer/songwriters that mold together equal parts of Neil Young and Nick Drake (not Canadian, but doesn’t matter). Tracks like “Plastic” shares the guitar/harmonica driven arrangement style with his older compatriot Young, but also his social/environmental concerns without singing words that could have originated in pamphlets. On the other hand tracks like “The Letter” have the subtle vocal and arrangement style that is close to Drake territory. “Time To Come Home”, combines the two, while “Real” picks up the tempo to add a full variation to the album, and “Feeling Winter” brings in that guitar sound Young can muster, albeit in briefer doses. Taken as a whole, it can easily be heard that Morgan has quite a deft musical touch.
What it does musically is preventing Barrie from turning his music into a one-dimensional acoustic tirade that verges on monotony. Morgan Barrie was able to bring in enough musical, arrangement and lyrical finesse into a relatively brief musical timeframe to make “Fall” not only listenable but truly enjoyable.
Another impressive thing is the fact that he played most of the instruments recorded and produced the album himself and has prepared the music in a lake cabin he also built himself, a story bit reminiscent of the path Bon Ever started out on. In a way, “Fall” passes by your ears like an early fall breeze like it the ‘real thing’ shuffles the leaves of a true Indian summer, without leaving anything bad behind it. Based on this album, it is certain that more good things will be heard from Morgan X Barrie.