Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Morning Stars - You Can't Change the World

Okay, let's get this out of the way up front.

When you have a band fronted by a pair of extremely talented brothers who happen to have a fixation with insanely infectious Beatles melodies and shimmering sixties pop, comparisons to Oasis have to come to mind. Add to that mix, the fact that their nasally inflected lead vocals have more than a passing similarity to one Gallagher brother and the comparisons simply can't be avoided.

So let's get it out of the way.

The Morning Stars are what Oasis should have become if they hadn't been swallowed into the bottomless dark pit of old mother Ego.

Now, let's set another thing straight. These brothers, Mars and Micheal Ivie, along with Donn Dixon on drums, come from Canada not England, and the three of them combine to create perfectly crafted shimmering pop songs, laced with a touch of underground attitude, a spice of shoegazing polyrhythms and a splash of post-punk mood and texture. The end creation is a captivating, wholly engaging album of dreamy, jangling Britrock pop that still hides a darker underbelly.

"Hearts for the Living," starts off the Morning Stars debut album, a smattering of street noise and random dialog before the big burst of sparkling sixties pop blasts through. From the intensely melodic verses to the soaring, so sweet it sticks-to-the-underside-of-your-mouth chorus, this is the feel-good hit of the summer, one that I guarantee will be bursting from the Ripple convertible Ghia as the Pope and I make our daily pilgrimage to the beach this season. It's a shame the world isn't singing this song right now. Drop the mp3 into Iraq and maybe, just maybe, sanity would be restored as the warriors decide that it's just time to lighten up and dance.

"Wrong," flows next, the best Mamas and Papas song they never wrote. Over a textured guitar riff, the brothers flow through an effortless pop gem. This is Raspberries pop, the early Beatles cleaned and buffed to a sparkling shine. Then, lest you think these boys are simply the next bunch of retro-rockers, "You Can't Change the World," opens up the can on a whole new group of the Morning Stars influences, echoing in shades of the Velvets with a hint of the postpunk underground, a smattering of Siouxie. Make no mistake this is modern pop/rock and its sobering in its beauty. A later track, "Don't Waste Time," builds on this darker vibe, building on a galloping Joy Division-era bass line before the boys soar off into their own world of shimmering guitar, melody and layered vocals.

"Steal My Love," roars over a big beat and stuttering riff, glistening guitars on top, elevating the song to the realm of the sublime. "Waiting at Your Door," throws the influences back, way back. I hear tones of the Everly Brothers in the vocal harmony and even a hint of Simon and Garfunkel in structure, before "All Coming Down," takes everything you've heard and throws it away. Forget the retro-pop, this is neo-psychedelic Stone Roses shoegazing, swirling, whirling, can't stop my ass from grooving, Britrock. Drop in a nasty The Godfathers guitar riff and we've found the highlight of the album.

In the end, the Ivie brothers mixture of their odd assortment of influences creates a sound far greater than the sum of it's individual parts. This is a glistening, timeless pop gem. And to top it all off, the boys want you to have it for free. Yes, that's right, free. Simply head over to and you'll find the whole album available as a free download. Now, we at the Ripple love free music as much as the next guy, but we also know that if we want artists to keep creating we have to support them. So, pop on over to the Morning Stars page, download one or two tracks, and if you dig what these guys are laying down, pick up the album over at Amazon or CDbaby. We've included some links to make it even easier for you.

You never know, you just may have found your theme album for the summer.


buy from amazon here: You Can't Change The World

buy from CD baby here: Buy the CD

This video is a sampler of different songs and melodies from the album

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