album review: morning light

Wisconsin natives Sleepy Gaucho released their sophomore album Morning Light in a social climate where peaceful music is longed for now more than ever. Self proclaimed as “contemporary cowboy music,” this album is the perfect way to start a day, or to play on a long road trip through the country. With standout tracks “Halfway,” “Morning Light,” and “Take Me for Ride,” this album is fluid and strong all the way through.

“Halfway” is an upbeat tune with a very jumpy bassline and great use of tambourine. The synthesizer complements the vocal melody very well. It is a standout track because of its high energyit is quite fast in tempo compared to the rest of those on the album. It even has a breakdown in the end where the guitar gets to really shine.

“Morning Light,” the title track, is reminiscent of George Harrison-style Beatles, particularly “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” The descending, minor sounding verse has a bossa nova feel to it. There is even a vibraslap, as famously used by the band Cake. This track has great use of a box-style effect on the vocals, which give it that warm, vintage sound. It really is a perfect song to play when the day starts to break.

“Take Me for a Ride” is a calm, focused track that is driven by arpeggiated guitar. It is folk sounding, reminiscent of Chicago-based band Twin Peaks. It is the perfect song for credits to roll in a western film. This song is able to transport the listener to a highway of endless road in the desert.

This album shows an improvement in both songwriting and production for Sleepy Gaucho. Their debut album Another Time, from 2018, had a more minimalist approach. Morning Light has more of a full band feel, with an added emphasis on a solid drum sound and more vocal effects. This album is a great choice for a listener who wants a blend of folk, country, alternative, and rock. Sleepy Gaucho has expanded their horizons with this album, and the experimentation that came out of it worked in their favor.

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