Mango Music 2021
Light delights and space observations from an art-pop collective who strive to hug all of humanity.
Having taken stock of his past, Tim Morse was free to explore the future yet, quite unexpectedly, instead of charting a new progressive rock route, he roped in an old friend Bret Bingham and returned to the collective consciousness of the ensemble they formed in 2014. Perhaps, it was a case of the seven-year itch; perhaps, it was a pity that the duo’s self-titled debut didn’t receive another lease of life. And perhaps, it was time for another concept – less intimate than before but more universally romantic, more concentrated, with songs forming an EP rather than a full-length album, and as a result, more cosmic.
From the nebulous, momentum-building mood-setter “Suspended In A Sunbeam” onwards, to where the mini-album’s titular piece – that feels so warm, washing sweet vocals in orchestral waters – bookends its core, there’s a sense of fresh, open-minded wonderment and admiration of what Carl Sagan saw as a reason to treat a fellow human being and our planet with utmost respect and to love the world. And once initial, deceptive misery has given way to groove, bliss will descend on the listener and bring the vibrant ballad “Mystery” to the fore, letting piano and synthesizers offset guitar riffs until Moog’s waves capture the flow and pass the drift to the bass-propelled and brass-splashed philosophy of “When The Sky Fell Down” – the record’s soulful pinnacle whose rhythm-and-blues edge is completely, and timely, unexpected.
After it, the spiritual uplift of “Finding The Light” seems logical, however, briefly weaving rapture into a six-string, flamenco-like lace – a precursor to the heavy, if elegant, waltz of “Hypnotized!” that’s gliding beyond the pale, to a place with no frontiers. This feeling of ultimate liberty is what defines the album’s finale, a faithful cover of The Fabs’ take on “Free As A Bird” which, otherwise, could be seen as a simple bonus to the overarching concept yet, in fact, serves to highlight Tim and Bret’s voices and conceals their individual additions to the song’s arrangement – not counting “mango sauce” as a replacement for the other drink, the source of a certain deadly rumor. Here, everything sounds as life-affirming as it gets: after all, the pale blue dot will remain the only home we’ve ever known.