Mr. Morris, we’re very happy to say that you passed the audition — welcome to a permanent place in our stereo’s rotation! Or maybe we should say another permanent place in our stereo’s rotation — Morris’ other bands, the Southern psyche-grunge Dead Confederate and the all-star rock n roll hooligans Diamond Rugs have been glued to our cd players for ages now. Audition Tapes, Morris’ first solo outing, takes a markedly different turn from his previous outings, steering into the early-morning territory of acoustic guitar and plaintive steel.
Dispensing with the bombast that defined Dead Confederate and the rambunctiousness of the Rugs, Audition Tapes finds Morris creating intimate, dreamy sketches that evoke a long night of partying in the South as much as they do the psychedelic whimsy of Syd Barrett. On tracks like the languid, ethereal country number “O.K. Corral” or mournful, cautionary tale “Hardstuff” Morris connects with the mythical ideal of Cosmic American music, attaining an ethereal sound that stands outside of time, stands beyond trends.
The rugged guitars and sparse drum beat of “Share the Needle” segue into swooning country and back into alternative territory just as quickly, creating a tension and release that’s truly addictive. The hushed, delicate folk of album closer “My Own Worst Enemy” and it’s fourth-wall-obliterating string scrapes are audio-verite, a raw, unfiltered view of an artist evolving and growing in front of our very eyes, setting the scene for repeat listens and years of enjoyment.