Morton Valence - The South (London) will rise again...
The cathode ray portion of the Confederate flag behind the neon lettering is a bit of a clue. Morton Valence have taken their louche electronic pop and ‘done a Piney Gir’ (well, partly), giving themselves something of a country makeover and reanimating a few old songs in the process.
Not that you’ll suddenly start a hoedown to it any time soon. Since their time as Florida (from which time they revisit the excellent Man on the Corner and this album’s title track) they’ve excelled at literate, heavy-lidded hungover pop, with a sound akin to that bit of a great party where the sun is coming up and you start to get a second (or third) wind. And, for all the steel guitar and loping clip-clop rhythms, that’s still the dominant feel. It’s more an urbanites dream of country music than the real thing and none the worse for it. Indeed for every twang and slide there’s a song augmented by a bit of clashing (even flamencoised) guitar and Hammond, or even old single Sailors, which survives with its Bowie-like electronics pretty much intact.
There’s a risk, as with their previous records, that the careful, mannered construction of the record could put some off. But you’d be daft to let it. Morton Valence are too classy, their songs simply too good to let them pass you by.