The Early Mornings announce new EP, Share titular single ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’
Words by A.L. Noonan
On predicting the future orientation of mass entertainment, David Foster Wallace writes in his 1993 essay E Unibus Pluram: “I am going to argue that irony and ridicule are entertaining and effective, and at the same time they are agents of great despair and stasis.” He goes on to argue that perhaps future artists will no longer hide behind the shades of postmodern irony but will present their art with notions of sincerity, honesty and earnestness. They will be “the next real rebels.”
Photo credit: Luke Keatinge
On their sophomore EP ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ Manchester triad The Early Mornings wholly embody this notion of metamodern sincerity. Having substituted their Manchester home base for a London scene bloated on a diet of sonic maximalism, The Early Mornings display a minimalist, measured maturity; absorbing elements of tongue-in-cheek 90s lo-fi and twee and transforming them into a new audial form.
‘It’s Not What You Want’ cracks open the EP, acting as an ode to boredom and everyday monotony whilst showcasing the importance of finding purpose in mundane, domestic moments. Marrying pococurante vocals, acerbic wit and lyrical bass-lines ‘It’s Not What You Want’ acts in many ways as an appropriate mission statement for the group as a whole, showcasing why they are one of the tightest and most respected groups on the come-up at the moment.
Pairing slacker-rock aesthetics with a single heartfelt epithet, the compact ‘Love’s Not Hard’ arrives not unlike an early Parquet Courts cut, but stands unique with a single, paramount element. This is simply their tone. Both live and recorded, The Early Mornings broadcast a tonal palette that balances Annie Leader’s crackling guitar, Danny Shannon’s wood-panelled low-end and Rhys Davies’ clanging yet poised backing to the utmost degree of equilibrium, evident most notably in the puckish interplay present in this track.
The Early Mornings display a minimalist, measured maturity; absorbing elements of tongue-in-cheek 90s lo-fi and twee and transforming them into a new audial form.
A live favourite and for good reason, the EP’s title-track and latest single, ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ clanks into chattering motion with a feverish dialogue between Davies’ jittery cowbell and Shannon’s oscillating bass-line before the fizzing barks of Leader’s guitar joins the jumble. Discordant unison bass and guitar lines clatter over thumping ride hits before Leader bites into driving power-chords and an ascendent chorus akin to the poppier elements of Beat Happening or the angstier elements of Dolly Mixture.
Like ‘Love’s Not Hard’, instrumental ‘Refresher’ acts as a palate-cleanser from the whirl of the preceding track, calling on early Pixies and The Fire Engines showcasing the trio’s post-punkier leanings before launching into the sauntering finale of ‘First Words’. Rounded drums and rolling bass act as the introduction’s spine before Leader interrupts with dulcet high register vocals contrasted by overdriven guitar splurts reminiscent of early Pram. The lyric penning partnership of Shannon and Leader comes to the fore here with some of their finest observations, broaching the topic of engaging in the creative process, noting guilelessly the nights spent duelling with the tyranny of the blank page. It’s these moments where The Early Mornings reach their highest peaks and ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ arrives as a compendium of accomplishment. In melding the well-trodden tropes of 90s indie with considered, astute lyrics and progressive arrangements, the Manchester-by-Brixton triplet mark themselves as outliers in a scene where tired and vapid state-of-the-nation declarations are à la mode and sincerity is ridiculed. ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ is the first true triumph of 2023 and a shot across the bows of groups hiding behind cold cynicism and empty insights into contemporary Britain. Here we have found “the next real rebels”.
‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ is out now as a special Rough Trade exclusive 12” alongside 2021 debut EP ‘Unnecessary Creation’ on the B side.
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