Playing music for the love of the art. This is the steadfast mantra of Minneapolis-based acoustic/progressive rock group MOROSITY. The five-man, multitalented band released their debut album Misanthrope in July of this summer with breath that had spent nearly 10 years bated. After finding what frontman Jesse Albrecht said was the missing pieces, (a drummer and violinist) the work on Misanthrope could finally begin. The group began tracking in late 2010 and had the finished copy by the following summer. Now, with an album five months on the shelves, MOROSITY is taking their eclectic, new age sound to stages all across the metro and parts of Wisconsin. With an emphasis on deep violin riffs and melancholy notes, MOROSITY takes the meaning of their name and incorporates it into this masterpiece of heavy sounds.
Opening the exactly one hour album is a track that focuses on the pure talent and musicianship this band possesses. Adam, a nearly four-minute instrumental track, showcases the violin talents of Jason Wolfe as the track effortlessly plays on. “You don’t see many albums start with an instrumental,” Albrecht said. “It was definitely a move we discussed at length.” While many instrumental songs are skipped right away, “Adam” not only keeps the attention of the listener but is so haunting in sound, the nearly four minutes seem like mere moments. As the song begins to dwindle, it slows and merges directly into the second track, appropriately titled Eve. The guitars are the main focus of this song, as is a slow, deliberate beat of a drum. It is 30 seconds in that Albrecht voices breaks through the music for the first time in the album. His smooth, deep tone keeps pace with the sullen song. Only four sets of verses make up this song, but the intricacies of this song combined with attention to musical detail make “Eve” a perfect opening song for the album. A 2:20 outerlude shines the spotlight once again on the musical talents of the band. “’Adam’ was intended as a tie into ‘Eve’,” Albrecht said. “In the end, it just made sense to start with it.
Keeping pace and rhythm with the first two songs, the album progresses into the third song, Stampede. Taking notes from the previous songs, “Stampede” is another melancholy trip. But, Albrecht’s voice is more vocal, distinguishing more sounds and the true talent of his voice begins to take shape. As the second longest track on the album, it portrays the downfall of a society after dense-minded individuals take everything there is. “You’re taking over isn’t this a crime/Shallow mortals thought they were divine/Run for your life/Ran from your pride/Into demise.” A plague that is upon our country now, Albrecht said these songs all have this common theme. “A lot of it is based on the perception of ones own moral. Good versus Evil. Who’s right or wrong,” he said. “Politics, history, religion, philosophy. How it all effects human perception and how that effects life.”
Taking a darker turn into the human psyche is the fourth track, Evidence of Insomnia. An open look into a problem that controls millions of lives, this trip down Insomnia Avenue is one of detail and delirium. Alongside the psycodelic vocals and haunting guitar riffs, this track is a slower progression with intricate lyrics. In line with the more tantric sounds, the fifth track Subconscious is a short, almost mirror to the track before. The song is as if the insomnia has taking control and now the subconscious is the one speaking. These two songs intermingle into the perfect, twisted display of music. Just about halfway through the album is the sixth track titled Day of Reckoning which could possibly be the breakout hit of the record. The versatility as a band is brought to the service with the rock and roll style of singing, the accentuating violin and fast paced guitars. Singing about all we have done throughout our lives and the negative consequences we have acquired, Albrecht proclaims don’t be surprised on your own day of reckoning when you reap the seeds of your actions. “Think you’ll be saved/Sill misbehaved/Rot in your Grave/Don’t look at me when/Waves crash down/Flooded ground/Virtues drown/He’s not around/On the Day of Reckoning.” This ancient, almost biblical notion of practice what you preach is the sole idea behind this song, Albrecht said. “Humans lie constantly and mostly to themselves. Whether they believe themselves or not makes no difference in the end,” he said. “So, really it’s about taking an honest look at yourself and making sure you are practicing what you preach. You be the judge.” Moving effortlessly into the next track, Breaking Vein, goes in a different direction from the other songs on the album. Taking a very old style Eagles approach to this song, the band elegantly weds hypnotizing guitars with Albrecht’s haunting voice to create a track that so beautifully describes the horrific abuse of our delicate planet. Quite the contradiction. “Smothered by the blackened path/Stripped and bare this cannot last/For flesh and blood will turn to stone/No longer will we call this home.”
Black Rainbow is the eighth track and more musically upbeat than anything previous. But the message, however, is nothing upbeat. Another glace into a society that is taking and taking of a place that cannot keep giving, “Black Rainbow” alludes to the fact that if we as a whole cannot change our ways, there is nothing to find but disaster. The verse “Nothing changes in a world that’s fueled by undying hunger/Soon you will come to find that her love won’t last forever” sticks out time and again. Even though we live in a world that is always in need, there will come a time where the world will not give back. And, if there isn’t a drastic change, we will perish. Metaphorically speaking, this album is littered with them. But, all metaphors that are real threats in our lifetime. The next track, Malpractice is a song portraying the realization of fault in the misuse of resources. But, it’s propaganda and the malpractice of those seeking help that perpetuates this never-ending cycle. The second to last song on the album, titled Hypocrite, takes another opportunity to tell listeners to “Say what you mean/Do what you say or/Shut your face.” “Hypocrite” is a faster track spouting the fires of hypocrisy and all the nasty side effects that come along with it. The last hurrah of the album is an extended song, which Albrecht said is a very personal song. “It’s the jammin’ song.” While Why Do I isn’t the fastest or lyrically packed as any of the songs on the album, it is the pinnacle of a musically entrancing album and brings forth all the talents and ambition this group of men have for not only the song but for the entire work. While the track starts off very slow and tragic sounding, it changes paths near the end with different sounds of guitars and tantric instruments. The drums blare in the last moments and give the song depth and make the listener want to jump out of their seat and move along with the rhythm.
It’s been nearly an hour and the MOROSITY experience has floated all the way through your ears and down your veins. Sad, dismal music makes for a great record. And, for Albrecht, music is more than just a creative outlet. It’s a form of therapy. “We all enjoy a wide variety of music,” Albrecht said. “But, the concept of MOROSITY is ‘dark’ music. There are highlights of hope and happiness gently sprinkled throughout the album sure, but overall it has a pretty somber vibe. Personally, dark/sad music makes me feel better. From the writer’s aspect, it’s like getting something off of your chest that has been pent up for a lifetime. From the listening side, it’s relating to others that have similar thoughts to your own. Therapy.”
Misanthrope is a passionate, musical delight of epic proportions. The talent emitting from this band is immense, both vocally and musically. Everyone brings a certain piece to the table and without each piece, it just wouldn’t be the same. The violin is making a comeback into rock music and it’s here to stay. Lyrically, this album is leaps and bounds above anything in mainstream today. The dedication to eloquently speaking the truth through music is what sets this band apart from everyone else. Along with the astounding musicianship of MOROSITY, their lyrics are intelligent, harsh, and very real. “The best part of the album is how diverse the music and lyrics are,” David Rowan, guitar, said. “…Each section of Misanthrope tells a different story or protrudes an alternative disposition while the music flows between violins and guitars. I hope people take whatever’s important to them from this album and enjoy it as much as I have.”
Top Three Picks:
1. Day of Reckoning
3. Evidence of Insomnia
MOROSITY is Jesse Albrecht, lead vocals/guitar, David Rowan, guitar, Nick Johnson, drums, Shawn Bachinski, bass, and Jason Wolfe, guitar/violin.