Morel - Lucky Strike
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Listen to excerpts from Lucky Strike
This is Morel’s second full length LP on the venerable Yoshitoshi label. Morel is lead by singer/songwriter/producer Richard Morel. With this outing, he continues to bring rock and dance together in an excellent fusion that is both danceable and listenable. Fusing rock and roll with dance music is not really anything new, but Morel’s take on the whole venture is fresh and original.

The first two tracks “Cheerful” and “Making Sense” and the last two tracks “Under a Disco” and “Escape (Driving to Heaven)” are pretty much straight up dance tracks; they all have that progressive house vibe that just sounds like a Morel production. You may remember “Escape” from the Deep Dish Global Underground release #21 “Moscow”, when it was debuted. That being said, all the meat in the middle even if released without the previously mentioned cuts would still make an excellent album.

With “Lucky Strike”, Morel also ventures into some slow tracks, particularly “Tennessee Violet”, which is filled with the kind of angst that ran rampant in the early 80’s with such groups as The Smiths or Talk Talk or even The Stone Roses of the late 80’s/early 90’s. But Morel grinds out the vocals in a throaty voice that sounds as if he’s been smoking since he was a toddler. Couple that with the steady dance beats, and his music becomes something different, something that makes one want to move, but at the time pay attention to the lyrics.

Morel continues to show that he has a knack with twisting phrase or creating images with his lyrics. The lines from “Under a Disco” when coupled with the dark dance beats, bring forth images of a club land lament from a spurned lover.

 “American Flag” is probably the only track where I thought more effort could have been put forth (at least lyrically), and that’s only for what is probably a petty reason. I find that use of filler vocalizations (such as after the first verse of this track) is something of a cop out. Instead of pushing the melody with filler like “da doo doo doo” or “bum ba da ba”, I think that songwriters should take some time to put something down to drive the song forward. But who the hell am I? If “Na na na na” or “yah yah yah” is good for The Beatles, I can hardly fault Richard Morel for this lyrical shortcut.

My favorite tracks on this album tend toward the dance floor numbers, of which there is a generous helping. But there’s hardly a track that I found to be weak. Even the “rock” tracks are quality productions with great lyrical content – if Morel (as the band) comes near me on tour, you can bet that I’ll try to get my wife to go with me. Upon repeat listening, I find this album growing on me in a way that promises that I’ll be listening to it for years to come.

Rodney