Springtime Carnivore aka Greta Morgan is releasing her self titled debut album on November 3, 2014. The release is a Lo Fi disk made in the spirit of the Northwest music scene DIY culture. Springtime Carnivore is following up to Morgan’s self titled EP released on the Bandcamp site. Springtime Carnivore is a sunny collection of songs distilled through co-producer Richard Swift’s Cottage Grove, Oregon studio. Morgan along with Swift, of Foxygen, Black Keys, The Shins, and Generationals fame, shaped this psychedelic pop release.
Morgan’s voice can be likened to that of Susanna Hoffs, lead singer of the Bangles, with bits of PJ Harvey and Adele tossed into the mix. She aptly displays a great vocal range, from earthy to ethereal. Her stated goal is to create “… Powerful music that can affect the human spirit, good pure music that is honest.” Her musical influences span from the gospel music of her childhood, to Nick Drake, Bob Lind, Mary Travers, and The Green Arrows (a Zimbabwe guitar funk group from the 70’s). The sound of the release owes a hat tip to The Generationals, who she will be touring with in the late fall and early winter. She utilizes pawnshop keyboards, faded strings, blown out drums and fuzzy guitars to attain her sound. Like The Generationals, she is practicing the ethos of happy sounding music that has at times very dark undertones, pop music for the housebound.
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The album is informally broken up into three sections by instrumental pieces; Western Pink which acts as an introduction, Karen Bird’s Theme is an intermission and the Conclusion Low Clouds. The instrumentals provided a nice interlude or a palate cleanser.
The pleasing song Collectors utilizes a Phil Spector Wall of Sound feel. Morgan conveys both her ebullience and knowing coyness on this track. Radio friendly Name on a Matchbook highlights Morgan’s delightful voice in a very catchy song with great musical hooks. The heavy bass intro of Sun Went Black is backed by a quirky keyboard. It is in essence a breakup song that points out you are much better off without the departing lover. Foxtrot Freak (Something in the Atmosphere) showcases how effortlessly Morgan can leap across her vocal range. The production allows you to hear what a good time Morgan is having, as her knowing smile comes through the speakers. The folksy Other Side of the Boundary has a stripped down sound. The song is best described as a PJ Harvey vocal styling on a folk influenced tune.
The bouncy pop of Keep Confessing with its kitschy keyboards, gives the song a very 60’ girl band feel. The smooth and hard to forget Last One to Know is my favorite of the release. Well preformed musically and vocally, one of a trio of must listen to songs on the album that starts with Keep Confessing and continues on to Talk to Me Slow. Talk to Me Slow is a slow burning torch song, describing a long drive across scenic vistas. ‘It is such a long ride home, will you keep talking to me slow.” Springtime Carnivore’s voice drawling “Your sympathy comes and goes; it’s a guard rail on my road.” Fantastic lyrics paint a laconic everyday scene that has unspoken yearning lurking beneath.
Quirky Creature Feature evokes the films of the Creature Feature genre. A humorous video accompanies this song. The song speaks to the worn out cliché of ladies in distress looking to be saved by the hero in the movie. Paradoxically the song then twists into looking for that hero in real life. Morgan asks, “Will you come and save me in the end?”
Find a New Game is a delightful acoustic song about the surprises both pleasant and unpleasant that change your life. Her advice is to find a new game and not dwell on the past. Morgan’s real life experience illuminates Find a New Game. Her tightrope walking career ended with a serious fall, and she turned to her childhood love of music, which led to her musical career.
Springtime Carnivore is a sincere and moving debut disc from a multi gifted performer. There are many clearly derived influences on this offering but Springtime Carnivore recycles them making something fresh and distinctly her own. She possesses great talents and the disc deserves attention from the music listening public. Her future ventures should be just as exciting and engaging as this first release.
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