|Album Review: Mike Morrissey - Courage|
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Just northwest of Boston, Massachusetts, exists the city of Sommerville, where talent brews like a cup of New England Green Mountain Coffee, and where singer-songwriter Mike Morrissey resides, experiments, and ultimately presents us with his 2020 EP Courage. The short and sweet record is five tracks of the classic indie-folk sound that Morrissey deploys: sometimes natural acoustic, sometimes charged up rock and roll, but always sincere. In the record, Morrissey has placed a gift of tranquility in a time of turbulence, that if found, makes each song all the sweeter.
“Calm and Collected” opens the record with delicate acoustic guitar string plucks and Morrissey’s soft-breathy vocals ushering the rest of the instrumentation to a rhythmic trot. The song comes off like self-assurance that precedes a daring move or thought—it is short but powerful like such a move would be. “On the Line” deepens the calm mood with atmospheric, lingering thumps and low piano resonances that slow down the heart; the track is hopeful and romantic, a trademark of the artist.
Where “Mirror Man” really shores up that New England culture of stomping folk-rock with its bar-ready pace, “Perfect Light” has a Jack Johnson mood to it that evokes a summer sunset at the beach of your dreams, alone or otherwise. The electric guitar of the latter track melts away like something delicious. “Gifts” closes the record, with a reality we all face today: an overwhelming feeling that things are moving too fast, or maybe painfully slow. “It is up to you to use your voice/it is up to you to make a choice” Morrissey sings, and what a truth that is.
The gift that Morrissey asks you to find in this sonic sliver is courage, not just to continue your fight, whichever that may be, but also to heal yourself and others whenever a chance presents itself. Morrissey asks in his final track, and in the work overall, that unity prevails over division, and that the victory is found within before making its way out into the world. For such a short record that is a big message that should not be ignored.