As a longtime fan of Leftover Crack I was pretty stoked when I discovered Ezra Kire’s latest project, Morning Glory. While the endeavor was introduced with Morning Glory’s debut album This Is No Time Ta Sleep, which Kire wrote and recorded entirely in his bedroom, and was followed-up two years later by the The Whole World Is Watching EP, there was a sizable gap of Morning Glory inactivity due to Kire’s focus on Leftover Crack. In 2012, some time after Kire departed from Leftover Crack, Kire brought a select group of artists and veterans from the punk rock scene into the Morning Glory fold to arrange and release their Fat Wreck Chords debut titled Poets Were My Heroes. Now in 2014 Morning Glory have done it again (Kire on vocals, guitar and piano, Adam Schrager on guitar and vocals, "Metal" Chris on bass and vocals, Shawn Gardiner on guitars, and Brian Viglione on drums) with what arguably stands as their defining full-length album, War Psalms.
War Psalms consists of thirteen all-new Morning Glory originals and displays some truly impressive songwriting and execution. Although Kire put the crusty squatter ska-punk aspect of Leftover Crack behind him, Morning Glory cannot strictly fit into a neat straightforward punk category. Ezra refers to Morning Glory’s sound as “revolution rock,” and that is as apt a label as any other than can be slapped on it. And though some of the material on War Psalms is somewhat personal, most of it bears a socio-political mark that can easily be appreciated even by those of the more undeviating political punk set.
More than anything, Morning Glory’s War Psalms is a series of powerful musical moments, from the opener “Calm and Alarm” to the closer “Home Free.” And there are plenty of thick, filthy chords, catchy riffs, fluid low end, and drumming which alternates between somewhat technical and full-bore pummel. In addition to these elements, there are horns, strings and keys. But the tracks which stood out most for me during my several listens to the album are definitely “Natas Behind Me” (a cool song title since, incidentally, Natas was a professional skater I liked in my youth, as well as the word Satan backwards), “Nationality Anthem,” “War Haka,” “War Dance,” and “Punx Not Dead, I Am.”
On March 29, 2014 Morning Glory are playing a record release show for War Psalms in Brooklyn, NY. If you can’t make it out to the event to check out the new material in person, you can always get a copy of the album from Fat Wreck Chords.