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  • Writer's pictureFoxSleep

Morlais "Letters of Last Resort" Single Review

Letters of Last Resort, the new single from Morlais, delivers a through-composed alternative rock account of contemporary fear, detachment and mistrust, that moves from absorbingly apprehensive to angrily anthemic.

Described by Morlais as "a three-part exploration of themes concerning political repression, echo chambers, disenfranchisement, cultural divides and the disconnect between virtual and real lives", Letters of Last Resort conveys this through clever construction. While infectious hooks are spun from twisting arpeggios, angular guitars and winding vocal harmonies, the song works through a restless emotional spectrum of fear, disbelief, frustration and anger.

From the intro, the air is anxious and uneasy, with lines like “I’ve got your number, boy” conveying a pervasive sense of intimidation, a discomfort punctuated by lurching drums and a shifting chord pattern that can’t quite sit still over an odd bar count. The mid-section presents a more solemn depiction of deliberate disillusionment and division, reinforced by a symbolic chorus of voices. Breaking into an anthemic alt-rock conclusion, the lyrics try to ignore circling predators before an angry and snarled acknowledgement that “there’s an image of a boot and it's stepping on my face” offers a conflictingly cathartic moment. As a further pay-off, the song rides a fade-out with a guitar solo which can only be described as “Greenwood meets Sultans of Swing”. As an overall experience, it is immensely engaging.

As suggested, the track radiates progressive experimental vibes akin to Radiohead’s Paranoid Android or 2 + 2 = 5, harking back to leftfield turn-of-millennium rock – Deus, Dismemberment Plan, Soulwax and Zabrinski all coming to mind – while the (self-)production allows a richness of grit, strain and weirdness to come through, without any excessive editing or tweaking. It is the sound of a band making the music they want to hear. Imperfection is embraced as character, delivering something worthy of the term “alternative” in the 2020s, bucking many modern trends, yet not deliberately against any specific grain. While certainly not bite-sized pop, not a moment is wasted or superfluous – everything has purpose and all is said in just over 4 minutes.

The low-key collaboration of songwriters Nick Weston and Ashley Nurse (based in Japan and south Wales respectively), Morlais are not a band for extensive self-promotion, despite their imminent third album Red Flag. Hence, I would be remiss not to wholeheartedly recommend Letters of Last Resort as an excellent place to start discovering this band (if you haven't already).

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