And so it Began Again… Acoustically – Morrissey and Marshall (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Fans of Dublin duo Morrissey & Marshall will not only be familiar with the type of music the boys play but will also be familiar with the songs on this album because they’ve rerecorded their 2014 debut album ‘And so it Began’ but in a stripped back acoustic fashion.

Now this is all may sound a little like the band have run out of ideas and have dipped into the leftovers pile and rustled up some musical bubble and squeak but when you dig a little deeper and understand the reasoning for this, it all makes sense.

Originally conceived as a two-guitars/two-vocals duo the lads honed their sound through  creating simple sounds but over-laying the whole thing with beautifully crafted harmonies and clever lyrics. Fast forward a few years and they find themselves in the studio adding instruments and other bells and whistles to produce and record ‘And So It Began’. But with the nagging feeling that perhaps the band moved too far from their original sound the question remained; what if the album was recorded the way the album was intended to be recorded? And thus we find ourselves here.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of Morrissey and Marshall before I was asked to give the album a listen, but has it made me want to search for the 2014 original to see how the tracks compare? Yes, I think it has.

There are some good moments throughout the album, it’s clear from the outset that these are musicians that no only know how to write a good song but also know how to present it and compliment each other. The harmonising vocals are a step up from your typical band, it’s pitch perfect at times and blends effortlessly (even though it’s obvious that this kind of work takes time and lots of effort) and when there are drums and added instruments, it never feels intrusive or out of place.

The music itself is described as folk-rock, but you can happily add 60’s pop (particularly the Mersey Beat sound of the 1960’s) and Britpop into the blend of styles. Track 2 ‘Pack Up Lady’ shows the vocal strength on offer and ‘In Need of Guidance’ has an opening vocal display that would put Fleet Foxes to shame! Throughout the album are neat lyrics and clever characters, ‘Plastic Jack’ could have been written by Pete Townshend while ‘High and Low’ feels like the song that didn’t make the final cut for The Who’s ‘Tommy’.

Acoustic music, when stripped back like this allows the performer nowhere to hide in the mix, there are no margins for error and everything you play is heard front and centre so it’s high praise indeed that the songs sound this good when given this treatment.

Well worth a listen.

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