There must be something about Austin, TX that gives bands a musical tendency toward sweeping, plaintive rock. On their major-label debut for Hollywood Records, Alpha Rev show off their twist on the lonely Austin sound on New Morning. While the album is firmly rooted in alternative rock, there are flourishes here and there reminiscent of fellow Texans Explosions in the Sky and Trail of Dead, giving the band a sound that’s emotive without being overly melodramatic. There always seems to be something happening off in the background of the songs that separates them from the rest of the alt-rock pack, giving the songs more sonic depth than originally anticipated. Distant guitars and soft synths add spaciousness to “White Fences” as the song builds to the chorus. The music never really forces itself to the front of the action on New Morning, acting more like the score to singer Casey McPherson’s lyrics, with the band relying more on textural songwriting than big guitar riffs and overdramatic bombast. This gives the songs almost a soundtrack feel to what would be the singer’s dialogue, with the music delivering emotion with understated shifts before hitting that big crescendo rather than beating you over the head with solos. That’s not to say that the music is forgettable by any stretch, and even if it’s just a vehicle for McPherson to deliver his songs, it’s a great vehicle for any singer/songwriter to be riding on.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney