‘Rain Games For The Natural Born Pariah’ marks the second EP this year for American folk singer ‘Crosby Morgan’ following the beautiful ‘Patrons Of Silence’ which was released back in May. At first listen you may struggle to realise that they are from the same artists however as the two EP’s show markedly different sides of Morgans approach to songwriting. Where ‘Patrons Of Silence’ was a fairly conventional folk record that allowed Morgan to exhibit her dazzling vocals with soaring melodies and tranquil harmonies; ‘Rain Games For The Natural Born Pariah’ is an hypnotic ambient record that experiments with broad soundscapes and subtle electronics.
Straight from the outset, you are transported to another world with the pulsating percussion and ethereal vocal chants that introduce the record on 'No Pain'; an experience that persists throughout. In contrast to her previous outing, the lyrics take the back bench this time around as instead Morgan focuses her craft on layered vocal tracks that provide a ghost like quality to her music. This is used to astonishing effect in ‘Teacher’ which is almost entirely made up of multi-layered vocal chanting as opposed to the conventional verse-chorus structure.
The development of vast soundscapes continues with the spectral opening to ‘Rain’ which experiments with electronics and reversed audio tracks before evolving into a mesmerising guitar lead that is not unlike the opening to ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by ‘Metallica’. Where the songs of ‘Patrons Of Silence’ would feel welcome around a campsite; ‘Rain Games…’ feels far more suited to an art installation. Each song morphs into the next cohesively in a manner that makes it hard to distinguish where one ends and the next begins, but never feels repetitive.
‘Rain Games…’ is such a shift in style from ‘Patrons Of Silence’ that it would be unfair to compare the two against each other, but the two EP’s fit together as opposites as Morgan continues to improve on her already exquisite songwriting capabilities.
Personal Highlight: Closing song ‘Systematic Sadness’ summarises the overall feeling of the EP from the fractured distortion on the opening guitar licks all the way to the angelic vocal chants that end the track. Experimenting with a call and response on the verses accompanied by a mesmerising echo that draws you in and envelops you; ‘Crosby Morgan’ proves that she is capable of building entire worlds within her music.
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