The opening to “Prelude: EP’s 1 & 2” is a mood-setter, an atmospheric track that really tells the story of the band even before any music is laid down on the disc. “Run For Our Lives” has the entire history of British rock behind it, from the less-hacky days of U2 back to The Who; there is even some crossing-over in the slightly Jim Morrison meets Rivers Cuomo vocals present on the track. The guitars kick into high gear in the aptly-named “Hi-Skies”, even as the vocals move from their “nice” sound explicated in “Run For Our Lives” to a super-sonic type of shrieking. Shifting back to a sedate sound for “Hidden Spaces”, The Morning After Girls again shift their general sound, this time recalling the dreamy-sounding boy bands of the early sixties (Herman’s Hermits, Beach Boys). This continually-shifting set of influences makes the band incredibly hard to “get”; without a common referent to these tracks, it is almost like listening to a multi-artist compilation.
It is during “Always Mine” that The Morning After Girls make their most challenging track yet. Honestly, the band has more than their fair share of trouble with this looking-back, early nineties-alternative track, with the dense and full sound of the track providing a stumbling block for the band. The largest of these problems comes in the fact that the vocals are just not at a high enough level to really win out against the guitar. This creates a dissonant sound that really diminishes the delight possibly enjoyed by listeners at the very smooth and catchy vocals found on this track. Settling further into this early-nineties alternative sound with the Chris Isaak-reminiscent (“Baby Did A Bad Thing”-era) “Lazy Greys.” Of particular import are the strung-out, Dick Dale following guitar riffs that punctuate the stanzas on the track.
The klaxons that shriek throughout the spoken vocals of “Fireworks” really distill the essence of “Prelude: EPs 1 & 2” into one track. The fact is that Prelude really never gets off its feet because it does not create a commonality between tracks. The Morning After Girls are solidly-based in their instrumentation, but the disc suffers when they completely change styles on a whim. The chaos present during “Fireworks” shows what a listener feels after being barraged by this diverse array of tracks. Perhaps The Morning After Girls will unity their diverse influences into a theme album or something more cohesive. Then, they can succeed.
Top Tracks: Lazy Greys, Run For Our Lives
The Morning After Girls – Prelude: EP’s 1 & 2 / 2005 Rainbow Quartz / 12 Tracks / http://www.themorningaftergirls.com / Reviewed 05 November 2005