Boomkat Product Review:
**Includes digital download voucher redeemable from the label** "The R.G. Morrison are a band from Devon. This new long player, 'Diamond Valley' is their third album in all and the most coherent and complete that they have managed to commit to tape. The recording centres around Rupert Morrison and features David Hart on guitars/drums and Sarah Morrison on bass. Live drummers have always been a luxury but previous guests include Alex Neilson (Trembling Bells, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) and the current seat is occupied by David Beauchamp (Johnny Flynn, Jeffery Lewis) Morrison's debut album “Learning About Loathing” (2008) was more of a live taping, recorded in a single twelve hour sitting in a Church. The album was the first release on his own 'Drift' label and gathered unanimously high critical praise. The follow up album, “Farewell, My Lovely” (2010) was released on Loose Music (The Felice Brothers, Dawes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) and saw the band touring hard across the world, with shows in Europe for Rolling Stone, Canada for MTV and at SXSW in Texas. 'Diamond Valley' (2013) is a ten track album that falls somewhere around the alt country genre. Inspired like so many of their generation by Laurel Canyon, The R.G.Morrison produce rich, melancholy country rock and roll whilst managing to avoid the common pitfalls, like American accents from English tongues, hackneyed instrumentation and borrowed philosophies. In the best possible way they don't really sound all that much like anyone else. Influences are not the problem, Morrison himself is pretty much a professional listener.The album will doubtless draw comparisons to parts of Neil Young's catalogue (for the guitar wig outs and 'Harvest'-esq drums if nothing else) and again to a Whiskeytown period Ryan Adams, but it's those odd minutes and off-kilter instrumentations and arrangements that will raise more eyebrows and moves 'Diamond Valley' out of the Americana genre. The synth parts in “Sweetheart” owe more to Paul Young than Neil Young, like an eight minute Duran Duran single. “Dreaming” is whispered, reminiscent perhaps of Elliott Smith (one of Morrison's heroes) before the Mellotrons swoon to the saddest crescendo, sounding more like Sparklehorse (another of Morrison's heroes). Lead single “Slumber” would sit nicely on a Palace Brothers album before the guitars get overdriven and the vocals turn up to a screaming evangelist. (It was the last track recorded and Morrison damaged his throat doing so, a few planned overdubs had to be scrapped) “Poor Cow” (the only track sung solely by Sarah) is direct from Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb country, a cow girl ballad. “The Sun” takes the album right back to Lauren Canyon (maybe more Eagles than CSN) before the “Weary” closing track, a finger picked lament from the “Shelter Form the Storm” school of thought. 'Diamond Valley' was written as a concept album, moving through purgatory on Earth and dealing with themes of dissolution, loneliness and redemption. For the album cover the band always used J.M.W.Turner as a visual inspiration and never managed to find an image that single handedly created such a sense of despair and doom as “The Fifth Plague of Egypt”. To that end, with the blessing of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Turner's epic was selected as a final image. In anyone else’s hands perhaps an image of bucolic life, but Turners biblical epic is the very epitome of Hell on Earth.And now the band? Well one of them is busy running a record shop, one is busy being a mum, another a surgical nurse and lastly the current drummer is in hot demand across the globe; so will their be live shows? In short, they'd love to and these things tend to work themselves out. But that is all real life, 'Diamond Valley' is about somewhere else. They are all just glad to have recorded it."