Grand Rapids’ Major Murphy is set to release their debut
full-length No. 1 this year. Those who caught feelings for
'Mary,' the plaintive single released in November of 2017, may
be pleased to find that the single is no outlier in this album.
Brimming with jangly guitar, bright riffs, synth-sheened grooves,
and commanding backing vocals, No. 1 reimagines 1970s radio
rock with bristling sensitivity for our present era. Not quite
pastiche, the lyrics of songwriter Jacob Bullard come from
millennials’ unique cache of societal anxiety and ego-crises. On
one hand, the technicolor and mechanized world of No. 1 is
unmistakably ours: we are over-stimulated and pressured,
confused and frustrated. On the other, Bullard heaves up
worries seeded in adult selfhood and relationships, working for
answers beyond life’s many brief and manic vanities. The
album’s musical sensibilities catch all this with A-side’s sudden
velocity and mechanical repetitions, and B side’s encouraging
grooves and contemplative soft-rock. The sound is rich and
evocative, owing in large measure to bassist Jacki Warren’s
faculty for harmonic structure. Drummer Brian Voortman’s keen
responsiveness to melodic progressions and emotional shifts
make for concert-like, energetic recordings--in fact, most of No.
1 was recorded live, capturing how naturally Major Murphy
makes music together.