Cuff the Duke Morning Comes

Cuff the Duke Morning Comes
After a decade together, this Toronto, ON-based roots rock sextet are now seen as potential heirs to Blue Rodeo. That connection is validated by their close connection with Greg Keelor, who returns as producer. His approach to recording really does seem to get the best out of the band, and Morning Comes rapidly reveals itself as their strongest, most consistent offering to date. Their fifth album, it has been referred to as a concept record, but don't let that put you off. The unifying theme is of change and confronting loss, but there is enough vigour in the playing, Wayne Petti's vocals and the songwriting to keep dreary melancholy at bay. The band really stretch out here, musically and lyrically. The guitar work is a constant pleasure, from the spiralling sounds of "Standing on the Edge" to the dynamic steel and electric on the epic (near-eight-minute long) "Bound to Your Own Vices." Unlike most albums, this gathers momentum at the end, from the haunting "Brightest Part of the Sun" to the spirited "You Won't Look Back," culminating with the near-anthemic "Letting Go." It leaves us on a high note, wanting the more we can rightfully expect from an impending sequel. (Paper Bag)