tue 05/03/2024

Morton Valence - Left | reviews, news & interviews

Morton Valence - Left

Morton Valence - Left

A banquet of exquisitely related misery from undersung London outfit

Morton Valence aren't stallin' on album three

Morton Valence are a band that have “cult” written all over them, one to be adored by literate sorts and bedsit weirdos (and Plan B, apparently). They’re a five-piece from London who write story-songs that are as poetic as they are mordant and spiced with detail and humour.

Their third album is a treat, once again, dealing out tunes with novelistic detail and authorial pith, but since we appear to currently value singer-songwriters who lyrically major in lame mood verbage, who knows whether Morton Valence will gain any more commercial purchase.

The album opens with the near eight-minute “The Day I Went to Bed for 10 Years”, a tale told from the first person perspective about mulching aimlessly through the lower levels of pop fame before ending up a bum, with every shallow detail nailed impeccably. The man behind the words is Robert “Hacker” Jessett who also produces and, on a couple of occasions, duets sweetly with co-singer Anne Gilpin, notably on the lush, strummy “Clouds” and the bleak, lonesome Kinks rewrite “The Return of Lola”. Other gems include the quietly mournful - but razor sharp - lowlife opus “Boyfriend on Remand”, co-written by Johny Brown of the Band of Holy Joy, which starts as it intends to go on with the lines, “The floor is littered with bodies/You haven’t slept for days/Ever since you started dealing/Life’s been a haze”.

Near the end sits Randy Newman’s death ballad “In Germany Before the War” rendered a ghostly lament. So, yes, in truth, Left is a bleak affair but, personally, I can take more of that in this era of blithe, semi-meaningless social network emotion. Like Leonard Cohen they add twinkle and musical wit to elegiac dirge, all viewed through the filter of urban decay and personal failure. It’s a rich, acerbic and admirably executed dish for those that have the palate.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Clouds"

Like Leonard Cohen they add twinkle and musical wit to elegiac dirge


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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