on 21 October 2002
...This album, although steeped in melancholy, seems to exorcise a great number of ghosts. His fourth solo outing in five years, The Kiss of Morning is Graham's most accessible by a country mile, and does indeed sound almost 13/Blur-like era Blur in parts. The album has a wonderful warm analogue sound (the sleevenotes even take you through the recording process!) For my money the standout track is "Just Be Mine", for no other reason than it is a great pop song. Yes, pop. There are rockier numbers on here, and there are ballads too. If this is what happens when Graham gets the better of his demons then there is no reason why even with evidently deeply personal material like "Bitter Tears" he won't find commercial as well as critical success. Those Essex boys will have to go some to beat this...
on 11 November 2002
Men! Do you have problems attracting the opposite sex? Then you need The Kiss of Morning. Simply insert into your CD player, press play and learn the songs on your guitar (er, I did mention that you need a guitar didn't I?). You will thus be able to entice women with your renditions. The quiet tracks will reveal your caring side while the thrashing electric ones will hint that you go like Stephenson's Rocket. Best of all, you can tell women you wrote the songs yourself, safe in the knowledge that Coxon's inconspicuous style will ensure his album receives minimal publicity and your secret will remain safe.
Or will it? This is the fourth album from Blur's recently departed guitar player, although you could be forgiven for not noticing the first three, as he doesn't exactly go all-out for attention (like, say, relying on gimmicky cartoon characters). There are no obvious hit singles here but word of mouth - or Amazon! - just might change all that.
Fellow Blur songsmith Damon Albarn may write about interesting people such as wife swappers, Japanese businessmen, etc but tends to say little more about them than what futile lives they all lead. Coxon, on the other hand, sticks to less adventurous subject matter - mainly love or people who have p****d him off - and as a result his songs are less pretentious and constricted. He doesn't break any new ground when it comes to musical genres, presenting us instead with simple but brilliant melodies which grow on you like...er...hair (well, it's the only pleasant thing I could think of).
Apart from occasional guest contributors it's mostly the man, his guitar and a drum kit - and half the tracks even dispense with the percussion. The songs switch from folksy and acoustic to loud and electric, the best track probably being the bluegrass ballad "Mountain of Regret" which has the authenticity of a 50-year old classic. The lyrics tend to be melancholy or bitter but not depressing. Coxon never goes out of his way to sing the right note and the inclusion of occasional mistakes suggests that he doesn't bother with many takes, giving the album a raw but relaxed charm. It seems that Coxon simply plays music he likes and if anyone else likes them enough to buy them then, well, that's a nice bonus.
Coxon's songwriting seems to have weathered the detrimental effects of fame. In fact, it's probably doing something as uncomplicated as these songs that has kept the man sane. It's ironic but if he wasn't already famous he would probably be hailed as the new Badly Drawn Boy. As it is he seems likely to face relative obscurity. And you know what? I'm sure he couldn't give a gorillaz.
on 9 January 2004
That this album isn't more widely known is nothing short of a cultural crime. Every track on it is a classic! I checked the credits of the album god knows how many times in the first couple of weeks after I got it because I was so sure that I'd known a lot of the songs all my life. You know when you hear a new song and very quickly you can't imagine that there was ever a time it didn't exist? That's especially true for the blues-y "Locked Doors" and terrifyingly catchy "Just be Mine". The genre of this album is pretty undefinable... country? - "Mountain of Regret"; rock? - "Escape Song" and "Do What You're Told To"; blues? - "Locked Doors". "Song for the Sick" has to get a special mention just for its lyrics (made up almost entirely of insults - and some cracking ones at that). Every track truly is a classic, but for me the real highpoints are the beautiful, soulful, lovesong-to-self "Baby, You're Out of Your Mind" and noisy-as-hell "Escape Song". In conclusion: witty insightful lyrics, big noisy guitars, soft soulful guitars, guitars making noises you didn't know guitars could make, file under psychiatric.
on 27 March 2005
its a great relaxing album - some people may disagree with this - yes it does have its loud moments and rather sharp lyrics but for me "bitter tears" must be one of the highlights.
i give this album 4 stars because i feel that its not for everyone - it grew on me certainly and i don't say that its an indispensible album. however, it is one of graham's high works and i recommend it to someone who knows his musicality a little (ie this should not be your first purchase of his works) and to appreciate his background while writing a little (heavily influenced by going ons in his life with blur and family etc.).
however, by not listenning to this (even if you dont plan to buy it), you really are missing out on some beautiful music