The route to a band finding fame can be a curious path. For some it can be hype from a live show, others from a radio hit or maybe a TV sync. Most bands don’t even find fame. For Good Morning, it could be argued that fame (or at least qualified success) has come in fits and starts; having previously released five albums in a more-or-less DIY fashion, it was in 2018 there were sampled by a certain A$AP Rocky, which I guess you could describe as a start.
After that madness, the band seem to have been keen to distance themselves from it and focus attention on their own output, understandably so. And there’s plenty to dig into despite most of the aforementioned five albums being less than 25 minutes long each.
Sixth LP, and fist for Polyvinyl, 'Barnyard' begins with 'Too Young To Quit', which is reminiscent of the opening of Okkervil River’s magnum opus 'Black Sheep Boy'; there’s a darkness within a deceptively sweet song. After some ambient drones their latest single, the open-ended 'Depends On What I Know' kicks in with power chords and a pleasing walking bassline.
Elsewhere, on Wahlberg the duo - made up of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons - sound a bit like an indie-folk cover band of The Strokes, which whilst it’s a fairly fun couple of minutes, feels a little bit like the only throwaway moment on an otherwise strong album.
And on play length, they have clearly landed on a less-is-more approach to songwriting: only one song on the album plays out beyond four minutes with the vast majority being two minutes something. And that song, 'I’ve Been Waiting', is bang in the middle of the record and a real anchor for Barnyard, with lovely vocal harmonies adding to the gentle experimentalism on show.
As mentioned earlier, the songwriting here is very strong, and it’s hard to ignore the fact the initial sessions were recorded at Wilco’s studio - the kings of indie-folk clearly rubbing off on the band. No bad thing! Whilst they were meant to go and finish the album at their studio in 2020, you-know-what got in the way so they finished it in their hometown of Melbourne.
'Barnyard' closes with the best song on the album, 'Country', which is all nostalgia and bliss and makes you want to hit play over and over again. Ultimately, on 'Barnyard' Good Morning have crafted a fun and vibrant record that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome but rewards repeated listens.
Words: Nicolas Graves
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