Beautifully harmonized vocals and soft, deliberate instrumentation complement the emotionally charged lyrics of local indie rock band Morningbird.

A loud quiet. It’s a full sound, brought about by dissonant keyboard chords, harmonized vocal choruses, soft acoustic guitars, and verses sung as if in an attempt to not wake up easily pissed-off neighbors. This “loud quiet” and the ability to play with its volume in order to accentuate emotionally charged lyrics is where Morningbird, founded by Max Challis and John Cattini, thrive in their latest three song EP, You Freed Me.

The first track, “You Freed Me,” opens with an acoustic guitar and Cattini’s lyrics “It’s time to be alone / at least for a little while.” The vocals are soft but firm, accepting. There’s an understanding here, a realization that it’s possible to move on from the past, regardless of whatever pain it might hold. “It’s time to put this war to an end,” continues the verse after a chorus that expands the song’s sound with electric guitar fills and stronger vocal harmonies.

 

 

“You Freed Me” acts as a great lead-in for the “Skies Would Always Sing Hello,” the EP’s second song. “I wrote skies during a time when I thought I was going to lose a very close friend,” said Max Challis as he explained that the song’s chorus and title came about as a way to express some of the more sentimental memories he felt at the time, and it’s in this chorus especially that the band plays most with its “loud quiet.” By raising the volume of the chorus through pointed vocal harmonization and creating a noticeable difference between the much slower, almost-whispered verses, the band is able to draw all of the attention to the song’s emotional core: the bittersweet nostalgia that comes from a potential loss.

The EP’s final track, “You’ll Never Find My Love,” opens with an acoustic finger-picked riff and is probably the more quiet of the three songs. Dealing with the fear of unrequited love, it maintains a simplicity until the end of the first chorus, where beautiful backing vocals echo the lyrics “I fear you’ll never find my love,” with a “feel love, my dear.” These vocals stay present after their first appearance, playing around in the background as John Cattini’s voice continues to sing slowly, quietly, calmly. We’re back to that familiar sound from the first track where the vocals are accepting of facts, but almost reassuring at the same time, a perfectly channeled melancholy.

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