Sounds like … a skillful mix of pop, rock, folk, and alternative that not only resembles Delirious, Matthew Sweet, Jars of Clay, Neil Finn, Downhere, and Elliot Smith, but also suggests what might have become of The Normals in time
At a glance … intelligent songwriting about regret and redemption, along with a good variety of sounds and styles, allow Andrew Osenga's considerable artistry to shine on this impressive sophomore solo effort
I keep a short list of artists in my head that I believe called it quits too soon. The Normals is one example, a band that started out pleasantly enough in 1998, but quickly showed signs of developing into smart and anthemic rock in step with U2, Jars of Clay, Coldplay, and Switchfoot. Unfortunately, after just three albums, the group retired in 2002 to pursue other endeavors, both personal and professional.
Front man Andrew Osenga carries the band's legacy, independently recording his solo debut Photographs in 2002 before stepping in as lead guitarist for Caedmon's Call while also keeping busy with studio work and production. Now maybe it's the kind of music he's recently gravitated toward, or perhaps it's due to the stripped down sound of Osenga's 2004 EP Souvenirs & Postcards, but I half expected the same folk/country on his second album, co-produced with Normals keyboardist Cooley. Instead, The Morning could pass as the follow-up to The Normals' final album, with production values that surpass most albums in Christian music today, and Osenga continuing to impress (even surprise) as a songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist.
Four of the album's tracks are brief mini-songs—"chapter" introductions and illustrations that add color while reflecting the album's recurring ...1