Crosby Morgan – Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah

Rating: 3/5
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Released: 2018
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Crosby Morgan


1. No Pain
2. Rain
3. Teacher
4. Systematic Sadness


Crosby Morgan is a folk artist who blends electronic ideas into her music. Her lyrical themes are inspired by grief and its absolution as time passes. Her life philosophies that change as she grows are other sources of material, as are the light and the dark sides of life. Her new EP ‘Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah’ will be released on November 2nd through Dark Martha Records. It features haunting vocal melodies, beautiful guitars and adventurous production.

Whilst the folk ideas that are often electronically manipulated are different, the gentle sound distortions and such in ‘Rain’ take up too large a role. The guitar effect in ’Systematic Sadness’ may have been employed to add intrigue but it sounds more weird than anything else. Rather than the effects adding spice to the music, they get tired and leave the listener waiting for more traditional material. When that material arrives in the former song it is little more than a repetitive acoustic guitar arpeggio for a short while. The vocal melodies are usually worth waiting for in almost all tracks with their adventurous and slightly complex nature, but in ‘Teacher’ they are a bit obvious and travel up and down the scale with little creativity. Even the way the listener sometimes hears two voices in harmony is often not enough to satisfy his intellectual side in that song.

Morgan claims her lyrics are influenced by the changing nature of time as well as the happy and sad parts of existence, but the mournful and overly sentimental (for some) mood throughout the album is rather consistent. There arguably should be more things going on in it for it to have a larger appeal, as much of what’s on offer is rather average and expected. What the artist really needs to do is to gain interest from the more tried and tested methods, such as playing with good old instrumental awareness. Even if she simply strummed her guitar every now and then rather than picking it, that would have added some much needed variety.

In conclusion, few will find this music offensive in any way and it makes excellent background music/music for sleeping to. Maybe Morgan hasn’t achieved her goal of utilising modern technology in a way that is interesting and musical, but what she does with her instrument and voice is often pretty good. There isn’t the instrumental technicality here that is found in groups such as Pentangle, and unlike in Steeleye Span’s work, there are few themes that you will remember for years to come in ‘Rain Games…’ However, if you really like your folk music, you will most likely like this.

Review by Simon Wiedemann