My word, this is marvelous. Especially played loud and sung along to.
Its a celebration of the mundanity and marvel of everday life - stupid things that people do, how nice rainstorms can be, shaking your rear, media pressure for aspirational lifestyles, love and defiant individuality. Oh and, of course, a few Astrogirls, make-believe skies and Atlantis thrown in for good measure.
As a whole album, this is the best thing they have done since Dog Man Star. Brett's given in to his Bowie & Prince fetish and gone and made an album that's an onslaught of choruses, suburban sci-fi imagery, gurgling guitars, swells of sparkly synth and more choruses. Musically, they've really thrown the net wide - harmonicas, bongos, mellotrons and (in a bit of a suede revelation) layers and layers fabulous harmonies.
Brett also seems to have reinvigorated himself lyrically - becoming the dominating pressence over the whole album. A New Morning is full to the brim with stuff that makes me grin like a big happy rock chimp - Obessions & Beautiful Loser particularly. This is really welcome after the psychotic urban alienation of Head Music, A New Morning is a lot more open and universal by comparisson.
The bonus track "you belong to me" is a stormer too (seemingly being Bretts lyrical manifesto for the whole album), and would nestle nicely in between Positivity and Obessions if you ask me. When you add in the fascinating alternate sessions you can link to with the CD, this is amazing value as a purchase.
And that artwork! Great swirls of bright paint - lovely stuff.