Kevin Morby: More Photographs (A Continuum) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 28th, 2023  

Kevin Morby

More Photographs (A Continuum)

Dead Oceans

Jun 05, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In 2022, Kevin Morby released his seventh album, This Is a Photograph. The album’s titular phrase cycles throughout the record. For him, the photograph is the physical catalyst. It sparks his musings on nostalgia, family, and memories. This Is a Photograph never reaches for a definitive statement about the past, but it insists on viewing those sepia-tinged photos with empathy and wholeheartedness. It’s an album about what is most meaningful about the family photobook.

It’s almost too ironic, then, that Morby dwelled on his album that dwells on the past. He returns with More Photographs (A Continuum), partly a companion album and partly new renditions of This Is a Photograph originals.

For the most part, More Photographs is a harmless addition to one of Morby’s best albums. It neither enhances nor detracts from the source material. The new takes are dark and shadowy, the dusk to This Is a Photograph’s sunset. The title track emerges with a disco sheen, compared to the previous rendition’s stomping folk. “Bittersweet, Tennessee” is longer and drearier. It swaps the original’s banjo for acoustic guitar, mostly an unnecessary change. Both versions feature Nashville folk artist Erin Rae, but their collaborative chemistry is more at home on the original’s homegrown country-lite.

“A Song For Katie” is a stripped-down adjustment of “Stop Before I Cry.” But the barebones arrangement gets old, repeating the same piano line to exhaustion. Morby’s unapologetic tenderness is best in the first iteration, accompanied by strings and pillowy drums.

Luckily, he follows with the gorgeous “Five Easy Pieces Revisited.” The song builds around a flute melody reminiscent of a doorbell ring. It unfolds into one of the album’s touchstone moments, strings and Morby’s soulful guitar-work floating into bittersweet nostalgia.

The fresh songs are more of the same from Morby: Dylan-esque speak-song, acoustic guitar into electric and back again, a few more meditations on the figures in his photographs (“Going to Prom”). “Lion Tamer” has a blues rock swagger and a fun growl, but the genre experiment doesn’t distinguish itself too far from the alt-country-meets Springsteen tone of the rest of Morby’s work. It’s all colored in the same time-worn tone of old photographs.

If anything, More Photographs (A Continuum) proves the point that Morby’s 2022 album made: nostalgia is a limitless source of reflection and re-reflection. In a way, Morby could go on like this forever, constantly reshaping the stories and material of his past work. Just when one stack of photographs comes to an end, there’s surely more to follow. (

Author rating: 6/10

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