Morning Glory is the more melodic solo project of Ezra Kire, who is best known for Leftöver Crack and Choking Victim. The band has been around in various forms for many years (including the live version I saw in 2008, which I’m not sure ever actually recorded), but this album is an exciting departure, because it is the first one of their releases to finally congeal into a full cohesive sound. Many of their (incredibly hard to find) earlier albums are collections of scattered recordings made on the cheap, which range from decent (The Whole World Is Watching EP) to just above boom box levels of recording (Tha Suicide Singles and This Is No Time Ta Sleep). They all featured songs, though, that at their core, consisted of interesting and promising bits of sharp-barbed, melodic punk—some of which was eventually adopted by Leftöver Crack—that were just waiting for a proper fleshing out. This album finally lets the music sound full enough to breathe. This album could be subtitled Recovery Anthems. Lyrically, it is quite apparent that Ezra is a man who has many personal demons that he has struggled with through the years. Several of the songs here deal with addiction and rebuilding. What is refreshing about this subject matter is that the songs on here, such as “Touch” and my favorite “Shelter from the Spoon,” examine drug dependency in the sense of a struggle, not a glorification of self-destruction. Many other songs, like “Poets Were My Heroes,” “Orphan’s Holiday,” and the epic-ly scoped penultimate song “Born to December” are intense lyrical self examinations of the effects and realities of the present, as shaped by past life choices and situations. This can get rather weighty, but rather than caving into nihilism, there is a distinct undercurrent of optimism; given the chance and inner determination for one to rise above—whether it’s addiction and personal circumstance, politics in the larger scope of global politics, or failures in society. One should not neglect to mention the richness of the album’s production. There are many subtle touches that bring out extra layers to the street punk heart (in the best sense) of many of the songs, such as the string section and piano which carry the melody of “Born to December,” or the way that “Touch” is essentially an organ-led dirge featuring what sounds like a choral ensemble. Even the one song I’m not big on here, “March of the Asylum,” features an interesting use of a horn section. This album is an interesting document that is well worth spending a little extra time with, as it offers up an examination of struggle and survival that chooses to venture down a more complex path.
–Adrian Salas (Fat)