Label: Dead Oceans
‘This Is A Photograph’ is the seventh studio album from Kansas City born Kevin Morby and the Southern American charm ripples through the album.
The title track starts proceedings with a rambling ode to back country blues guitar blended with an almost funk beat. As well as giving the album its title, the opener was also the starting point for ‘This Is A Photograph’ as an idea when an emergency trip to the hospital for his father led Morby to look through old family photos. He found one of his father, standing bare chested on a lawn and Morby says “It was not lost on me that this was the same chest, just hours before, I had seen the ambulance put a stethoscope against as he lay on the kitchen floor of my sister’s house”. Morby doesn’t get dragged down by this in the music but rather gains positive inspiration and the music seems more a celebration of his father.
‘A Random Act of Kindness’ segues from simple organ, acoustic guitar and heartfelt vocals to a song that could be likened to The National in its grandness with a drum beat that cracks like gunfire throughout.
‘Bittersweet, TN’ is a beautiful duet between Erin Rae and Kevin Morby with acoustic guitar and banjo laying delicate layers beneath.
As an album ‘This Is A Photograph’ is laidback almost beaten down by the southern sun. Tracks like ‘A Coat of Butterflies’ and ‘Five Easy Pieces’ drift down a lazy river with their toe in the water. With each listen though, ‘This Is A Photograph’ reveals another instrument hidden in the layers and touches you that little bit more. Though he may not be a household name, Kevin Morby is building a legacy of beautifully written songs that are both full of emotion and instrumentation that compliments that perfectly.
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