Then Came The Morning
provides respite for weary ears in a musical climate that can seem overwhelmingly negative. The second album from The Lone Bellow
sweeps you up in a tumult of powerful positivity, roots rock, and southern charm. The Brooklyn-based indie trio have channeled the spirit of a bygone era when the roads were dustier, the music chased poignancy, and the outlook was a little brighter. Gritty, passionate, and rife with soaring gospel overtones, this collection is a triumphant example of musical Americana.
Like a vengeful sun rising to pierce the blackness of night, the title track booms confidently and deliberately, trumpeting a message of relief and resilience. The plodding upright bass envelops you, the distant drums create epic sonic scope, the squealing strings add urgency, and the masterful harmonies evoke earnest and holy meaning. "Take my words, breathe them out like smoke/Burn every single letter that I wrote/Let the pages turn to ash I don't want them back/Joy comes in the morning, you won't see me crying:" proclamations belted out with vein-bursting energy and emphasis.
If Then Came The Morning
is the final purge of a toxic relationship; slightly bitter but overwhelmingly positive, then "Take My Love" is a love letter brimming with re-kindled romanticism and ardent desire. Not content to simply profess deep admiration, Williams and crew bellow out a desperate imperative in shouted harmony; "Take my love!" Its a deeply poetic track that radiates with optimistic desire, underscored nicely by a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum and warm, bright chords.
The album has a healthy amount of dirty, distorted southern rock, and includes references to all of the obligatory imagery; heaven, six-strings, highways, rivers, and the county-line of course. Playful tom-tom drumming, fervent hand clapping, and ascending guitar lines make you want to do the lindy hop at a backcountry barn party. Charming guitar picking and Huckleberry Finn-esque descriptions of the moonlit south create wonderful sonic atmospheres.
Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist and Kanene Pipkin have created a heartfelt, honest, and deeply passionate work of art. Then Came The Morning
acknowledges pain, yet denies it control. These are songs of triumph in the face of trouble, and resounding, divine optimism even in times of darkness. Masterful harmonies, intelligent arrangements, and backcountry sensibilities make this a release not to be missed in 2015.
Then Came The Morning
is out now
on Descendant Records
. Read our conversation
with the three piece about making the record, the realities of life on the road, and why The Lone Bellow isn't really alone at all, and check out our busking session with the band below: