Morton Valence – Europa (Bastard Recordings)
CD / DL
7.5 / 10
There’s much more to the new album by urban-folk duo Morton Valance than initially meets the eye (or ear). A ‘protest’ album in the wake of the Brexit result of June 2016, Europa exists as not only a tribute to some fine pop from the 60s and 70s but also as a statement and a stance on the situation that the UK finds itself in.
Europa makes an attempt to ensure that the UK stays European and whatever your view on the referendum it is a clear intention. Nine tracks on the fifth album from Robert Jessett and Anne Gilpin are a wonderful testament to the joy of the union, eight cover versions and one remake of their own material.
There are instantly recognisable tracks here most noticeably Ca Plane Por Moi, the pop punk classic by Plastic Bertrand from 1977 which has been used on many a TV advert over the years and serves as a raucous reminder that punk could be commercial as well as anarchic. Morton Valences version does it great justice.
Kraftwerk’s classic Das Modell (their sole UK number 1 as The Model) is given a quite remarkable treatment, still familiar but with accompanying cello and operatic solo. It is, nothing short of brilliant.
Album opener, Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en (Serge Gainsbourg) maybe sets the tone
for the album being quite uncompromising, no over commercial effort but instead a simple,
subtle, gentle acoustic entrée which often appears throughout the album. Porque Te Vas
Jeanette) carries on this feel and borders angelic.
The tempo rises for penultimate track, A Tonga Da Mironga Do Kabulete (Vinicius de Moraes)
which talks of the diversity of Portugal albeit being a Brazilian song set in Africa before
Sailors Return, a remake of Morton Valance’s debut single Sailors, brings a sense of loss and
emptiness and closes an album more than worthy of your attention.