Home Albums Album Review : Luke Morley – Songs From The Blue Room.

Album Review : Luke Morley – Songs From The Blue Room.

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Luke Morley is probably better known as the lead guitarist and chief songwriter of British rock legends Thunder.

Using the enforced time away from Thunder caused by the pandemic, he decided to record a solo album, one that many of his fans hoped he would, although technically this isn’t his first solo project, ‘El Gringo Retro’ released in 2001 has that honour, but Morley says that one wasn’t written as an album, he claims it was a bit inconsistent.

This album was mainly recorded in his home studio during lockdown in 2020, most of the songs were also written during the same period, although a couple were written earlier. The idea was to produce an album that sounded like intimate demos.

A bit like Dave Grohl for his first Foo Fighters album/demo tape, Luke Morley played all the instruments, apart from the drums which were played by Dave McCluskey, and the strings sections by the Bryden Quartet. Morley also sang all the vocals; however, he had some friends join in with backing vocals including Danny Bowes and Ricky Warwick.

This album consists of 10-tracks and a running time of 38-minutes, so I’m hoping that it’s an album that has focused on delivering quality rather than quantity.

The album opens with ‘I Wanna See The Light’, it starts at a steady pace with a clear vocal and gentle guitar stumming, it’s not long before the pace increases. It has bounce and a general feel-good vibe in the sound, think summer cruising in a convertible.

The intriguingly titled ‘Killed By Cobain’ is next, it’s also the first single released. It’s about the time Thunder were ready to launch an attack on America, only for the Grunge scene to explode over there. The intro has a respectful Nirvana sound, it expands into a Beatles-esque style. The vocal is crisp accompanied by some nice harmonies, the guitars have intricate twists and turns as they match the tempo changes, a clever track.

‘Errol Flynn’ is one of the original tracks Morley composed sometime before the lockdown era. Careful acoustic strumming and delicate lyrics show Morley’s soft and controlled side. He’s telling us a story, a time of reflection, drawing us in, you find yourself hanging on each word and note. The piano and considerate Dave McCluskey drum beat give a rich and soothing sound, the solo massages the ears.

The paces increases slightly with ‘Damage’, it’s begins with a 70’s Queen style piano, it sounds wonderful, leading to a toe-tapping beat punctuated with some squealing guitar riffs later on. Morley is narrating the lyrics; the track fills out at more instruments become involved. The urge to nod along with the beat is irresistible.

Next, it’s the other pre-lockdown track. The sad emotions ‘Nobody Cares’ bring are immense, it’s heart-breaking. The tempo is perfect for a waltz. Morley’s delivery is superb, his voice portraying the passion, it’s slow, the guitars are crying sad notes. The mid-section has a traditional Greek sound. It’s brilliantly constructed.

‘Watch The Sun Go Down’ has that summer vibe again, no cares, nothing planned, freedom, no stress. Sounds great, doesn’t it? All that matters is the music, a steady drumbeat, calm lyrics, jangly guitars and a harmonica. Perfect.

The velvety smooth ‘Cry Like Rain’ has a wonderful mix of instruments, tempos and sounds. Morley’s vocal eases you through the track, before guest Tony Myers lets loose with a rocking guitar solo.

Tom Petty gets a nod of respect with ‘Lying To Myself’, the harmonica and strummed guitar gets the track moving. The chorus incorporating balanced harmonies, as the romance oozes from the lyrics. The country feel will have the boots tapping in time.

Starting with a steady beat and smart hook, ‘I’m The One You Want’ is possibly the only track that reminds you of Morley’s ‘usual job’. There is a powerful funk guitar line bubbling along in the background. The quick drums from McCluskey are matched with some riffs that really let Morley rock out. His singing shows how good his range and control are, you can picture him grinning all the way through.

The final track arrives in the form of ‘Don’t Be Long’. Luke Morley’s voice during the opening lines made me think of Paul McCartney, the Bryden Quartet and their strings play a prominent part throughout as they become entwined beautifully with the piano. A poignant song about loss, it will mean different things to us all, some will equate to a permanent one, whilst others a temporary one, but as you listen to the words it’s guaranteed to pull on your own emotional heart strings. A great way to close the album.

‘Songs From The Blue Room’ has undeniably proved to be an album of quality. This is definitely not a rock album, but it has rock elements, it’s possibly a more Americana style, but has aspects of the 60’s and 70’s too. Actually, it’s unfair to try and pigeon-hole this record into a genre at all, because it has characteristics of so many, and in doing so it will appeal to lots of people. It certainly won’t lose any Thunder fans, in fact I bet it makes a whole lot more. What this album most definitely is, is a clever and skillful piece of work that showcases Luke Morley’s fabulous ability to create and perform an amazing set of varied musical gems.

The album, Songs from The Blue Room is out on 23rd June 2023 on CD, digital and limited-edition blue vinyl.

A limited amount of signed LPs, CD and an exclusive signed postcard are available to pre-order from Luke’s music store now.

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LukeMorleyMusic
 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lukemorleymusic/
 Twitter: https://twitter.com/luzmor01 
 Apple: https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/luke-morley/190872939
 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5FFLjQwZeCUJiF4WIeW7m1

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