It’s been a pretty good year for alternative West Lothian rockers The Morning Retakes – the final stretch of 2019 has seen the quartet announced for next year’s Stag and Dagger, take to Broadcast for an end-of-year launch gig, and release their much-anticipated first EP Best Laid Plans, featuring singles Bleeding Out and Ghost.
Best Laid Plans, as suggested by its song titles and artwork, is dark. It’s melancholy and ominous, yet fierce and powerful. It’s probably not the sort of music you’d play for your gran, or listen to whilst dusting the house, but it suits a walk in the rain, or the biting chill of a winters’ night.
Opener Bleeding Out introduces the ominous theme of the EP, with a heavy, repetitive guitar riff preceding the entrance of Jake Davies’ gritty vocals. The dark tones of the song eventually give way to a somewhat dreamy guitar bridge, which leads us back into a raucous conclusion. Announcing its arrival with upbeat 00s indie-esque drums, the EP continues with Richmond, a tune which concludes in a spoken interlude (Flood) over a classy bass line plucked straight from a 60s spy film. This effortlessly bridges the gap into Ghost, which we’re eased into with a ringing guitar and appropriately haunting isolated vocals, before kicking into a punchy energetic riff. Ghost is accompanied by an equally haunting and brooding music video, shot and edited by George Harwood and directed by lead guitarist David Traill.
The Howl, with its trailing, melancholy ‘ooo’s fading out towards the end, brings an effective conclusion to the EP and is my personal favourite track. Its introduction is lengthy, hazy and placid, and the lyrics speak of the simultaneous fear and longing that comes with falling for someone. This is how I perceive the song, however it can also be perceived as a song about longing in general – not just for a person, but maybe even for things and places – aspiring to things we can’t have.
With their appearance at next year’s Stag and Dagger already announced, 2020 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for The Morning Retakes. Be sure to listen to Best Laid Plans here, and follow the band on their social media channels for all the latest news:
Facebook: The Morning Retakes