One side effect of Beyoncé’s Lemonade being such a strong, captivating album is that I haven’t been listening to a whole lot of other new music lately. One exception to that, though, is Singing Saw, the excellent new LP from Kevin Morby.
Morby is a 28-year-old songwriter known for his work with Woods and the Babies, and Singing Saw may have dropped just one week before Lemonade, but it’s also one of the best rock albums I’ve heard all year. (Maybe the best?)
I’ve been a fan of Woods for years now, ever since I first heard their cover of Graham Nash’s “Military Madness” back in 2009, but I had somehow missed Morby’s previous solo releases. When I decided to check his album out on Spotify for the first time, pressing play on “Cut Me Down” was my first exposure to the man’s solo output … and I was instantly hooked.
Morby’s songs are fairly straightforward, but they seem to take on a life of their own the longer the song plays. What starts out as a few quick chords morphs into a fully-realized jam with several moving parts, and it all happens effortlessly.
If I had to compare the overall vibe of Singing Saw in just a few words, I’d probably call it “Jim James meets War on Drugs,” but I also don’t mean to belittle the man’s talents. He’s a wholly original artist, and I could just as easily say those other artists remind me of him.
The album also reminds me of Joan Shelly’s Electric Ursa, but that’s less because of the sound and more because how it personally affects me. Some albums seep into my body, forming a connection so quickly that I feel every note, every snare, and every pause. I may not be able to recite the exact lyrics to “Ferris Wheel,” but if I put that song on, it transports me to a very personal, comfortable place.
This is the power of Singing Saw. It’s power over me, at least.
Listen to the full album on Spotify below …
And to show that I can put my money where my mouth is, here’s my personal copy of the LP: