I’ve said this before and I’ll keep on saying it, because it’s one of my rules for life. The best band you’ll ever see could be playing the gig of their lives anywhere at any time. It’s your responsibility to do your best to be there. This is why I often go to gigs on impulse and the fact that two of my favourite bands of the moment (including the one under discussion shortly) I discovered entirely by chance bears this out.
It began when I saw McFly at the Leeds 02 Academy in March 2012. The support band that night were Dive Bella Dive who impressed me enough for me to see them play the Cockpit in September of that year. The support band that night were Morain and I remember collecting a flyer from one of their members after the show. That flyer told me that their EP, Are We Lost, was available to download for free. So download it I did.
I download a lot of stuff so it’s relatively hard for anything to take root on my main playlist but one song from Are We Lost did. That song was Animals, a deceptively straightforward pop rock song with a ear worming blast of a chorus. In a way there wasn’t an awful lot about it, it was just a good piece of songwriting performed well. The rest of the EP dwelt in Animals’ shadow but Are We Lost itself showed that Animals wasn’t a happy accident.
In the Spring of 2014 and two one off releases later the band launched Worlds Apart, their second EP. While the lead track, Who Would’ve Known, was a worthy follow up to Animals it was on the second `single` that – for me – Morain rose beyond very good and towards greatness. That song was Alive.
I’d be lying if I said Alive was anything madly original; rock songs about breaking out and making the most of life while it lasts are almost as old as the genre itself. However there is something about this particular song that made me pay attention. Whether it was the beguiling melody or the aching purity of the chorus (or in part due to the haunting video that accompanied it) this was a song to fall in love with and listen to again and again.
Saturday just gone was the first chance I’d had to see the band play since that night in 2012. I’ll skirt over the journey through to Wakefield from Harrogate (delayed overcrowded trains, my looking for an exit at Wakefield Westgate that no longer existed, my best friend forgetting to remind me that when I insist a certain way is right I’m invariably wrong) but it was well worth it, even if we just got there as Morain were starting and had to leave pretty much as the set finished. I was also a bit surprised that more people didn’t turn out to support this band in their hometown; their loss I suppose. The set was largely drawn from the two EPs (Animals was dismissed as `an early song we’re probably playing for the last time`) and Alive was inevitably the highlight. However there was a new song, Sattellites, that ran it close and suggests that Morain are a band just getting started.
It’s hard to describe a bands sound without relying on cliche (the paragraph about Alive has too many adjectives for my liking). The band they remind me of most is early U2 although I’m not sure they’d appreciate the comparison. There are also shades of Coldplay but with a sharper edge (I should add that I’ve always considered Coldplay overrated). Morain certainly have a stronger classic rock and a less of a punk feel that many new bands I see. I hope that they can continue to perform and develop and that they can find a producer to really do them justice (Daniel Lanois are you reading this – okay almost certainly not).
And finally if you want to hear more please check out http://morainmusic.com/ where the aforementioned free downloads can be found.