The debut from SoCal songwriter Ryan Baine works its way through quite a few pasts, with a particular eye towards ‘70s single-songwriter sounds and bits of Americana. Baine proves proficient in picking up on the canyon calm of his influences, but Morning Flight doesn’t lay easy in the pastiche of re-creating this era alone. By the time the listener soars into the third track of the record it’s clear that ‘90s Manchester has made more than a small impact on his sound as well, weaving the two impulses together into something pastoral, yet propulsive. Dancefloors blur in Baine’s world, smearing the scene between baggy decadence and cocaine cowboys, a hallucinogenic bounty that’s bouncing on chemical cheer as often as jukebox brass. I realize that sounds messy on paper, but I assure you on record the influences slide across one another with a soft focus ease.
More often than not, it’s the ‘70s that swim to the surface, with “Don’t Lose Your Soul” standing out as the most overt brit-pop bubble in the bunch. However, it seems that Baine understands how Primal Scream’s barroom pianos in “Movin’ On Up” would eventually inform the Southern Rock slip into the bulk of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. While the latter’s funk never quite comes through, Baine points to Bobby Womack and Sly Stone as informing some of the sounds, and given Sly’s ability to traverse rock, funk, and roots with ease there’s something deeper happening on Morning Flight than just a simple country rock rave up.
It takes a few spins through the record, but Baine’s insistence on melting genre adds a subtle jolt to his songs. It’s the end of night disco shuffle on “Out of Town,” the soul-crushed cry that courses through “Mystic Woman” (a towering centerpiece of the album), and the dense Library layering on opener “Desta.” Often the best albums come at a crossroads — where country meets funk, where soft rock snuggles disco. Bain seems to understand that playing it straight only leads to repetition and Morning Flight does well to try to feel familiar while shuffling the deck in unexpected directions.
Check out a sneak peak at the new album in full below before its release this week.
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