July 7, 2009
The Morning After Girls
2009 | Self-Released
Australian transplants The Morning After Girls have acclimated easily since their emigration to NYC. Their recent stint of live shows has been successful, at least in terms of alcohol sales. This past May, The Morning After Girls, originally from Melbourne, Australia, released the EP The General Public, a five-song digital release featuring the title track, two original songs and two remixes. Now with their album Alone coming out this month, they have ten more songs to accompany their first single, including a very short intro piece and a final outro song, “Tomorrow’s Time,” one of the holdovers from The General Public EP. “Tomorrow’s Time” features over ten minutes of silence, then a hidden mood piece that lasts little over a minute. But the old hidden track trick doesn’t really make an impression now that the CD format is passé. Everyone is just gonna move the tracker over in their iTunes until they hear music.
It’s moves like this that categorize the Girls in this new record: Traditional, Static and Boring. It’s got nothing to do with the sonic qualities of the record – not that things like that even matter anymore to a dying music industry – because sonically it resonates. But what wouldn’t resonate when it’s mixed by Alan Moulder? Just another indication that even those at the highest level of the audio game can’t save mediocre songwriting. The highly produced mediocrity of the album reminded me of U2, who can have Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in one room at the same time, but are still gonna be too old to let their voices be heard. Now, the Girls aren’t too old, they just don’t have a voice that stands out from the crowd, no matter how well-polished they are. The album wanders its way around an “alternative” sound that attempts in no way to distance itself from middle America. Coincidentally, they decided to move to New York City (now itself halfway to Kansas City) only to release exactly the kind of music that continues down a well-known path already tread a thousand times over. These are no unexplored woods or even trails, but paved highways that will continue to be traversed for years to come.
by Gordon Sharp