Morrissey & Marshall - And So It Began... (Independent Records Limited) 
Morrissey & Marshall - And So It Began...

Release Date: 31st March 2014

Now here's a story you don't hear as often as you used to. Morrissey and Marshall are a pair of Irish lads who left the relative comfort of their native Dublin to chance their arm on the golden streets of London which triggered a period of intensive busking, gigging and eating of baked beans - through necessity not choice. Nevertheless, their passion for the music and will to succeed never waned which finds them with a debut album and a list of impressive support slots including the Magic Numbers and Sinead O'Connor among others. But what of the music, I hear you ask. Let's dive in.

The folk blues stomp of opening track 'And So It Began...' provides the perfect introduction to their twin vocals and rich harmonies that wrap around the music like a warm, velvety scarf. There is a more delicate feel to 'Pack Up, Lady' before the shuffling rhythms kick in and immediately this is a great track for a summer's day drive in the countryside. There is an authentic feel to the music which is perfectly exemplified by the lilting folk beauty of 'Old Tree' and In Need Of Guidance' which starts with a gentle, haunting vibe before building in to full on, impassioned ballad. As you'll see from the cover art, there is very much a good cop/bad cop look to the duo and that reflects in the music as the darkness of 'The Last Four Days' juxtaposes the previous tracks but is no less luscious and richly layered. Although 'You Are Who You Are' sounds like a shrug in a song title, the subtle guitars gives the Irish pair the first real chance to show off their perfectly balanced vocal harmonies and you can't help but think of Simon and Garfunkel who must surely be influences.

There is a serious amount of Paul McCartney infused in to the music and lyrics of 'I've Got A Plan' which is not always a bad thing while  'Song From The Birds' is total Paolo Nutini but with a smoother vocal and more Hammond organ. There then follows a short song under the title 'Mantra' which feels incredibly celtic and should be listened to on a misty morning by the banks of the river Liffey just before you leave for the new world (man, that's seriously stereotyping the Irish isn't it? Sorry guys). 'We Are One' picks up the pace again with a rattling acoustic strum and some simple percussion as the boys beautiful intertwine their vocals once again. Closing song 'High And Low' revisits that Beatles vibe without stumbling in to Oasis territory and, despite a subdued start, ends the album with a rousing rock'n'roll wig out which is never a bad thing. I was going to make a flippant joke about these guys being a collaboration between whinging Mancunian Morrissey and Eminem but that would be doing a disservice to two guys who have worked hard, taken risks and deserve a crack at the big time. If that fails, they should just go on Britains Got Talent and make Simon Cowell's head explode. Maybe do that anyway, whatever happens.

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