Major Murphy

No. 1

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

No. 1 is the full-length debut of Major Murphy, an indie rock trio from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They're led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Bullard, who brings a warm, resonant tone to melodies often harmonized by bandmate Jacki Warren (synth/bass). Continuing to flesh out their sound after two EPs, the first of which was home-recorded, the album was co-produced and mixed by Bloomington, Indiana studio runner Mike Bridavsky (Hoops, FAWNN). What the band has had all along is a laid-back psychedelic pop with rich harmonies from top to bottom and likewise handsome chord progressions. Here, with Bridavsky's help, Major Murphy amplify these strengths. The more opulent sound of No. 1 is complemented by a strong set of songs, beginning with a title track that underlines the effort with an intentionally low-fidelity intro that pops into full color like Dorothy stepping into Oz. The song's deliberate pace accommodates a chiming guitar countermelody and vocals that try to sort through trippy lyrics about affection and anxiety ("Will we survive?/Surrounded on all sides, trapped in our minds?"). With a character that's part Summer of Love and part '70s AM radio, most of the track list follows suit, with melodies and harmonies that forge a trail into memory. Swapping tambourine for cowbell, they change things up with some Foreigner-like anthem rock on "Radi-Yum," "Step Out" ventures into a graceful sophisti-pop, and the closer opts for garage rock. With the exception of the latter, slow-and-steady tempos and those carefully plotted tone and chord colors conspire for a debut that's both striking and soothing; it's one to be savored instead of consumed.

blue highlight denotes track pick