There are some places in the country where walking through life as a creative or musician might be more than a little taxing. Despite recent acts like Hundred Waters and not so recent punk idols Hot Water Music, Morningbell must get looked at as the weirdo kids in town, from time to time. Take this not so pleasant anecdote from the production of their new video for, "I Had A Dream". Dressed in white, set amongst a field of beautiful wild flowers, singer Travis Atria's beautiful dream of that time they blew up the moon was met by the occasional passing pickup truck, slowing down to harass the band in the middle of production. Yet the band persevered, and we're glad they did. The visuals are gorgeous, meeting the wispy wind chimes, somber plumes of piano, and melancholy vocals oh so perfectly.
Morningbell is one of the more prolific, inventive, and fiercely independent bands in the country. With six albums and four EPs over nine years (including an album released only on custom-made USB cards, a choose-your-own-adventure album, and 2009s universally lauded Sincerely, Severely), Morningbell has gone more places with their music than most bands do in an entire career. They are constantly stretching themselves musically and creatively in a way that very few bands do.
The band hails from Gainesville, Floridaa hotbed of musical creativity (see Hundred Waters, Levek, Hot Water Music, etc)and consists of brothers Travis and Eric Atria, Stacie Atria (married to Eric), and drummer Chris Hillman.
Boa Noite is the bands 6th studio album. It was written, recorded, mixed, and produced by the band in their home studio. It draws influences from romantic classical music, African field recordings, Hungarian folk music, the poems of Jorge Luis Borges, "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," "Finnegans Wake," "Ulysses," Chopins polonaises, classic hip-hop, Charles Mingus, Paul Simon, Curtis Mayfield, Kurt Vonnegut, and the compositions of Claude Debussy, Frederick Delius, John Cage and Arvo Part.
With Boa Noite, the band wanted orchestral backing. Without access to an orchestra, however, they pieced one together during half a dozen sessions with multiple classical musicians. The result is a grand, sweeping, ambitious album with songs that often contain upwards of 150 tracks of instruments.
Morningbell has always rejected label backing (although they ran their own label, Orange Records, between 2005 and 2011), yet by the power of their music and hard work, they performed at Bonnaroo and SXSW, toured the country many times over, were featured in a film that debuted at SXSW, and appeared on MTVs "The Real World," GQ.com, and in hundreds of blogs and magazines from their hometown to Greece.
After a decade of independence, the band continues to create on its own terms. Morningbell shies away from making albums that sound the same, which makes them impossible to pin down. Any project must be a challenge or exploration into new ground.
And, as Boa Noite proves, their sense of musical adventure is only getting deeper. These are adults making adult musicsongs about sex, and time and death.
This is not an album; it is a gauntlet.