Album Review: New Morning by Alpha Rev

Alpha Rev's second album, New Morning, is a deceptive one. It is packed with soaring melodies, sweet, haunting, and seemingly uplifting... that disguise the darkness of lyrics that explore themes of despair, love, and the longing to escape (don't worry, cubicles all make us feel that way). The first track, "New Morning," is very memorable, with the potential to become quite the commercial earworm once it gets regular airplay. Stand out tracks for me were "Face Down," "Alone With You," and "New Morning."

Things I liked: the strings, violin and cello, were quite beautiful and added a richness and complex layering to the pieces that I enjoyed. However, sometimes the sound was so big it detrimentally buried the lyrics rather than offset them. I personally liked the simplicity of "Colder Months" because the score balanced the tone of the lyrics (love the "lost and found" metaphor), without either element overpowering the other. I guess my bottom line is, if you're going to write lyrics about feeling screwed up then I want music that enhances that, not washes over the pain.

My biggest complaint of this album is that many of the songs are similar in tempo and tone; I kept waiting for an arc within the album that seemed to want to happen, but didn't. "Face Down" was a nice change of pace and I was really starting to groove to its nice angsty rhythm. I expected to hear some more surprises after "Face Down", but the surprise was I didn't get any.

My overall impression: this was a good album, but not outstanding. It has some good energy but I kept feeling like there was more to be had. New Morning falls in that range of music that is alternative but is still benign enough that it has commercially mass appeal (translation: it doesn't freak out the studio). Whether that is the personal style they're settling into or pressure from the studio (they're signed with Disney-owned Hollywood Records) is too early to tell. I see some potential, enough that I want to keep an eye on them, and I've heard enough clips from their more-varied first album that I want to check it out. It will be very interesting to see what they do with their next album.

Of course, if they keep making videos like this one they'll build on audience on those eyes alone.

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