Morning Gloryís 2012 LP Poets Were My Heroes was surprising for a few reasons. Namely, records with long gestation periods are very rarely good and usually wind up being decadent, bloated and overblown. But while Poets, in the works on and off for almost a decade, was ambitious, it was also really, really good.
The albumís endcap, ďBorn to DecemberĒ which is now being released as a single and probably as an endcap to the albumís promotional cycle, summed up why the album was so successful. It opens with a live orchestra. Such a choice might make an album seem self-important, but with the way bandleader Ezra Kire directed the music, the organic instrumentation made the music that much more heart wrenching in this age of computer music. ďBorn to DecemberĒ deals with Kire describing his early childhood troubles and connecting it to his heroin problems.
Itís a brutally honest self-portrait that really lets listeners see the many levels under the artist who was too often (and unfairly) dismissed as being a novelty crack-rocksteady rocker. Kireís depiction is skillful because he doesnít seem to want to paint himself in any sort of light, but rather, describes a scene, offers an honest delivery, and lets the listener take the art as he or she will. Being that making art itself can be considered a self-important act, itís one heck of a feat.
The B-sides, which are exclusive to the seven-inch, extend the albumís winning stretch. Being that the album was so massive, itís good that these tunes were left off as they would have made the album too big. But as their own unit, they work wonderfully. ďJesus Christ BoogieĒ feels more inline with older Morning Glory, and is more political and blasphemous than more recent tunes, as Kire turns the crucifixion into a dance craze with dance moves inspired by Pilate himself. Itís a clever concept that surprisingly has not been done before. Even moreso, the song seems to not be an attack on religion, but an attack on self-martyrdom in all its forms and uses religion merely as a backdrop.
ďSara SaysĒ is one of the hardest rockers released by the band and like its predecessor, feels a little bit more like older Morning Glory. The band tear though a high speed, driving rocker that could have been on Kireís INDK album. Meanwhile, Kire issues lyrics that are somewhat more ambiguous than other releases. Cleverly, he merges pop culture icons Bette Midler, Marv Albert and Walt Whitman with concepts of punk rock, and then asserts a dedication to anarchism, though itís unclear if heís stating his own agenda, talking about another person, or commenting on how punk itself seems to have grown a set of rules. One of the things that makes Morning Glory worth of repeat listens is that not everything is spelled out. Maybe thatís the point of this song.
Poets Were My Heroes and its attending single had an incredibly long gestation period but was worth it. Though, letís hope the band strike while the ironís hot and keeps their winnings streak rolling sooner than later.