Simon Morel - Record #2

Straight away, track 1, "Tomorrow's Maybe" makes me want to dance. Great throbbing groove dance beat with a bit of soul in the chorus. The general sound is very Brit-Pop/Rock influenced, probably down to the fact that Simon Morel, while Sydney based now, is originally out of the UK.


This is his sophomore effort, following on from the well received debut Songs From the City. Record #2 is a likeable, pleasing effort, with some happy sounding tunes that have some interestingly contrasting lyrics.


My first listen to this one, I just bopped around going with the rhythm and the beat. Some tracks have some strong drum pieces, without them ever overpowering the song. So it wasn't until I put it on for a second time that I began to notice more than the hook lines in the lyrics. Possibly because some of those hooks are very catchy, perfect for throwing your hands in the air and singing along.


A second listen revealed a darker side, contrasting the pop sensibility with an accessible relevance to common experience. This isn't an essentially happy album, but it doesn't choke on its misery. The words are more a gentle exploration dealing with unhappiness without becoming mired in it. Actually, it's kind of a good break up album, applicable to those times when you just need to reflect and get over it without driving yourself despair. There are some dark, sweeping images in "Give Me a Reason" that I love. At times it is soothing, such as "Into the Night," with some sweet melody.


Simon's voice is clear and strong, with a pleasant, subtle husk. If I had to make a comparison (and I feel I do, for descriptive purposes) he is slightly reminiscent of Bob Evans, but more throaty than nasal. I'm a little uncomfortable with some of the high notes, particularly in "As time Goes By", although considering that is a song about uncomfortable feeling, perhaps it is appropriate. It definitely sounds like the feelings he is singing about. I would just like too hear him exploring the deeper reaches of his voice. He has this great restrained energy in his recordings that promises to be great live. Alas, I have yet to have the pleasure.


All in all, Record #2 is a well set out, thoughtfully done album, with an understated theme pulling the whole thing together, without the tracks bleeding into each other. It's solid, there is a lot to like about, yet I can't escape the feeling that the best is yet to come from this guy. Some real talent there has me enjoying this one, but looking forward to the next.

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