Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before
A band like Morning Parade is a little difficult to review in that though one can sense their heart is in the right place, their self-titled debut just does not do enough to separate itself from bands like Keane or a host of others who have a similar sound. Mind you, there are some very danceable beats, and many of the songs have interesting structures—but again, they don’t seem particularly noteworthy, or at the very least anything that hasn’t been done better elsewhere.
This is not to say their album is a bad listen. There are definitely some nice passages of interplay between guitarist Chad Thomas, bassist Phil Titus, keyboardist Ben Giddings and drummer Andy Hayes, and that leads to some intriguing moments, such as the lead single “Under the Stars,” which shows some range across several moods and sounds. However, that being said, Morning Parade doesn’t seem to stay this ambitious for too long. Though there might be yearning in the vocals, the results come off tame and seem a little too affected with the need to “sound good.”
As is the case for most bands that pair slick production with heart-on-the-sleeve-type songwriting, the emotion of the lyric gets a little lost in the cushy atmospherics of the production oftentimes. Thus, tracks like “Half Litre Bottle” and “Close to Your Heart” work best with the knobs on the control board toned down a bit, so as to let the band play and vocalist Steve Sparrow really dig into his voice and words. It’s on tracks like these and—cheesy lyric sheet aside—”Running Down the Aisle” that the band reaches through that slickness to establish an intimate relationship with the listener that makes listening to a record still a magical experience.
One could see this self-titled debut being a nice listen for a distracted rainy day drive and, though this record isn’t exactly bad, it is at the very least unsuccessful in reaching into the core human emotions that the best confessional pop music brings out of a listener. The substance here is not quite up to the style and sound, and thus, the emotional depths Morning Parade were hoping to dig for in their initial attempt come up largely empty.