For the past 30 or so years, Jeremy Morris has been releasing one album after another. Not only is being so prolific an accomplishment in itself, but the quality of these dozens upon dozens of discs is consistently excellent.
Although the Michigan based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer possesses the aptitude to pen and perform every mode of music imaginable, the bulk of Jeremy’s catalog tends to be balanced evenly between power pop and progressive psychedelic rock, with his current album, Not of this World sitting squarely in the latter category.
Aside from his harmonious George Harrison meet Roger McGuinn-styled vocals, Jeremy puts his instrumental prowess to good use each groove of the way on the album, as he plays guitar, bass, piano, mellotron, synthesizer, dulcimer, ukulele, mandolin and drums. Assisting Jeremy on his sonic sojourn are guitarist, drummer and keyboardist Stefan Johansson, bassist Todd Borsch and drummer Dave Dietrich. Lyrics are included with Not of this World, which are scripted of a spiritual slant addressing Jeremy’s belief and faith in the Lord and a heavenly kingdom.
The first cut on the album, “Clouds are Lifting” opens to the spellbinding shimmers of a celestial chorus and trippy synthesizer buzzings before melting into a joyous janglefest of Byrdsian pop rock, then ending to the tune of a solemn piano recital. It’s fair to say this awe-inspiring piece sets the scene for the rest of the record, meaning mercurial is the key word here. A lot of different stuff is squeezed into a single song, enforcing suite-like movements.
Shattering musical borders left and right, Not of this World (JAM Records) still manages to retain a highly structured and disciplined work ethic. The melodies are dazzling and direct, resulting in an ambience designed to transport the listener into a meditative frame of mind. Drafts of daring arrangements, boomeranging to and fro between tight and sprawling, represent Not of this World while the various moods and textures of the songs create impressions of spiraling through utopian skies. As well, the blending of the numerous instruments adds further weight and depth to the adventurous anthems.
A brace of bluesy licks butter “Candy Mountain,” and the title track of the album sneaks the main riff of “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkees into a hard rocking brew groaning and glittering with insistent rhythms. Propelled by zippy synthesizer noises, “From Outer Space” is simply hypnotic, where “The Other World” and “What Planet Are We From?” witness to be further electrifying epics featured on the album.
Roaring and soaring with flashy art rock flourishes, interspersed with dreamy interludes and crafty pop sensibilities, Not of this World is perhaps Jeremy’s most challenging album to date. And that’s quite a comment to make considering how ambitious so many of his recordings are. Following the lead of bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, and the Moody Blues, Jeremy has whipped up a freewheeling collection of majestic marvels transcending his influences. A modern day classic rock masterstroke, Not of this World is truly out of this world!
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