Last month, I wrote about the Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Claire Morales, and as you may recall, Morales was born into a family of artists and musicians — and unsurprisingly, she began to play music and make visual art at a very young age. As the story goes, family gatherings were often interrupted by a three year-old Morales insisting on a mix Beatles and Disney songs on a makeshift, fireplace stage. Morales began playing her first solo shows as a middle schooler at local coffee shops armed with her father’s 1960s Gibson and an arresting voice that has had many well-meaning people throughout at her life would deal “more powerful than I thought it would be, looking you.”
Morales’ 2015 full-length debut Amaranthine saw her work translation from folksy and rootsy solo singer/songwriter to fully fleshed out band with at sound that many have described as melodic, hazy, 70s inspired rock centered around a nostalgic meditation on childhood — from the perspective of someone, in the early throes of adulthood. However, All That Wanting, Morales’ sophomore effort, is the much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, and the album, which is slated for a June 29, 2018 release reportedly explores the vast freedom, possibility and existential terror of young, adult life; in fact, the album revolves around the human tendency to endlessly crave more, asking how we can stave off and tame that feeling and instead take in the beauty before you. Desire is ultimately viewed as a mythic force capable of compelling one forward or consuming one wholly.
Recorded by Matt Pence and Jeremy Buller at the Denton-based Echo Lab, Morales and her backing band of Alex Hastings, Ryan Williams and Russ Connell spent six days recording the album’s ten tracks mostly live together in the studio’s cavernous main room, which gives the album and its material the raw energy of a group of musicians who have collaborated together for a long time, and hinges on mutual respect and open communication between everyone involved. The album finds Morales and company fearlessly and fluidly passing through a vast sonic palette including intense dramatic moments, shoegazer-like psychedelia, profound introspection, rumbling unease and cathartic release.
Album title track “All That Wanting,” which I wrote about last month was centered around fuzzy, pedal effected guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring arena rock friendly hook, the Denton-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s belting, powerhouse vocals and a trembling, unfulfilled longing — and while revealing an self-assured and unwavering presence, the song sonically and thematically reminded me quite a bit of PJ Harvey and Shana Falana. Interestingly, All That Wanting‘s latest single “No Telling” is a jangling bit of 120 Minutes-era MTV guitar pop — 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up?” or R.E.M. perhaps? — but centered around a deeply confessional look at how desire for the song’s narrator has at times almost consumed her, herself and her sense of reality. And in some way, the song’s narrator is reminded of feeling small and inadequate and completely inarticulate around this person and she can’t tell them how she feels or what she thinks. The song reminds the listener that love is cruel, capricious and barely makes sense in the best of circumstances.
The recently released video for “No Telling” was filmed by Ellie Alonzo and based around a concept and storyboard created by Morales, and it was edited by Alex Hastings and Morales. The video features neon bright colors and possesses a surreal, dream-like logic.