SINGLE RELEASE: Kevin Morby – ‘No Halo’
WORDS BY KANE MARTIN
On the 27th February Kevin Morby announced his upcoming double album Oh My God, joint with the news was the release of his new single No Halo. Morby has made a career from re-imagining America’s classic rock heritage, a heritage which as time passes on has started to swallow NYC innovators such as The Velvet Underground, Ramones and The Jim Carroll Band in its revisionist history.
No Halo is no exception from this rule with Morby’s well documented Dylan-esque croon and a Rhodes organ chord progression creeping through the track; the classic Morby formula is at play but with repeated listens one can’t help but feel that something else is at play too.
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The track feels like something of an ode to the innate rhythms of rock n roll and the digestion of these rhythms as a child. Whether it’s the ‘1,2,3,4!’ before a Ramones track kicks in, or learning a new nursery rhyme with a ‘1,2,3,4’ in the playground when the sun’s out and slightly burning your face fat. There’s something both weirdly human and meditative about our unsaid appreciation of these patterns. They guide us through life, song and the passing of time without us knowing too much why or our need for them.
Morby’s lyrics don’t shine too much of a light on these eternal questions either but he evokes images of nostalgia “When I was a boy / No rooftop on my joy” with the elemental “no how, no one, nothing was not made of fire” and the spiritual “And hey, hey, hey / No, no, no halo, halo, halo, halo”. Demonstrating to us that with a tiny simple repetition we’re merely a few syllables away talking about the fundamentals of what’s important about life as we know it. This is all reinforced by the Astral Weeks flutes, Coney Island Baby Sax and The Steve Reich-esque clapping reinforcing this hypnotic reflection on this mortal coil. Heavy fucking shit man. The best music always is.
With No Halo it really feels like we have the first signs of an artist reaching a cosmic maturity and looking back at the building of himself as an artist. One can’t help but feel like this isn’t Mr. Morby’s first tackling with this subject with track 3 on 2017’s City Music’s ‘1,2,3,4’ except whilst previously this toe-dipping into this subject matter felt like something of parody or an ironic wink as the simplicity of rock n’ roll; this time round it feels as though Kevin something profoundly spiritual in the simplicity of it. Thusly it feels like the songwriting’s as honest, bare and nude as Kevin Morby is on the front cover and makes me tremendously excited for his upcoming double album.