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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
13

on 4 February 2016
OK , confession time. I knew next to nothing about Mark Morriss or The Bluetones. I've always been two decades behind in music, but thats another story. However , I had seen many lovely YouTube videos of him being part of Matt Berry's band , The Maypoles,( who I LOVE , but this is not the place to discuss them) and I went to every gig of the December 2015 tour. (Yes, you read that right , EVERY GIG, and it was amazing!!) I got to meet Mark on a few of those nights and he is as charming in person as he appears on stage, very opening and welcoming. So if you have a chance to go to his solo gigs ,seriously , go! Now back to the album. I figured I really should give his work a chance ,as he does have a distinctive, congenial voice. So,after a few listens via other methods, I purchased this album and it is EXCELLENT! It starts with its title song ,and his choice of lyrics paints a beautiful picture as you sit and enjoy. I could break it down and tell you why each song is so good, but where is the fun in that? My personal favourite is "Its Hard To Be Good All The Time", where the tone is darkened a little during the verses then met with this massive burst of hopefulness at the chorus , which really struck a chord with me. The album with the fabulous winter scene artwork comes on purple vinyl. ( This is the one I went for.) The version that comes with the Spring/ Summer scene artwork is on standard, black vinyl. So buy and enjoy!! :D
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on 8 March 2014
Didn't think Memory Muscle could be surpassed but "A Flash of Darkness" does that. Great to see Mark in Glasgow last week with the other Bluetones as his band. Mark's brother, Scott, has added an animated video to "Space Cadet". Check it out at gigwise.com.
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on 11 April 2015
I love this album! If you're a fan of The Bluetones then this is a real good listen. Good sound with great lyrics. Go out and get it!
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on 20 March 2015
What a great solo album. love nearly every song
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on 18 May 2015
Brilliant album from a brilliant songwriter, I love this album.
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on 9 December 2014
Well written timeless pieces of music, from the upbeat Consuela & Flash of darkness to the reflective This is the lie. Definitely a grower that keeps on giving.
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on 27 February 2016
The guy's a genius! Love the bluestones and love Mark M's solo stuff too!
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on 5 May 2014
I'll be honest here: I didn't want to like this album. At their height I loved The Bluetones, but like the rest of Britpop they found their audience dwindling. I was therefore pleased that on the downward slope of their curve, they were playing smaller venues including one in my home town a few years back. Mark introduced the band and made a churlish, snidey remark about 'having to come out to play the provinces.' It might have been intended as a joke, but that comment and the other small bits of crowd interaction that night made him come across as angry, arrogant and having an enormous chip on his shoulder. Talk about disaffecting your audience - I pretty much stopped listening to The Bluetones and ignored his first solo record as a consequence.

Perhaps he was having a bad day? Perhaps he was struggling with them not being as 'big' as they had been? Perhaps it was just an ironic joke that didn't come across well? Maybe I was being too sensitive? Anyway, I kicked all that aside and decided to give a Flash of Darkness a listen. I'm so glad I did, it's excellent. He's a great songwriter, writes a very catchy guitar tune and has a very distinctive voice. 'Consuela' is my stand out favourite track but it's all great stuff. I'm glad to see he's back on the road playing smaller venues - I prefer him to be playing those - and this album is an absolute treat, can't wait to catch it live.

I bought this the same day as the new Embrace album, one of his peers from back in the day. I've played this more than twenty times, Embrace once.
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on 25 March 2014
Another great offering from Mr Morris. A basket packed full of great pop tracks in Marks usual singalong style. Brill
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 March 2014
I have been looking forward to “A Flash Of Darkness” ever since the project was announced (and funded through Pledge Music) as I have been a fan of Mark Morriss' music since the Bluetones' debut album back in 1996. I haven't always loved each and every song that The Bluetones released, but, on the whole, don't believe they ever made a bad record (far from it), plus Mark's first solo album, “Memory Muscle”, back in 2008, was an excellent effort too. Being familiar with pretty much everything Mark has ever released, I can therefore make the bold assertion that this is one of the best pieces of work that Mark has produced, either solo or as part of his previous group. It has the intelligence, the immediately likeable qualities and the high standard of songwriting of The Bluetones' best output, but – being a solo record – has a little more space to let the individual songs shine than perhaps a Bluetones album, usually with a fuller, denser sound, would have allowed. In short, it's a really great collection of catchy, enjoyable songs and proves that there is life beyond the now defunct Bluetones for their talented singer-songwriter.

There simply isn't a weak track on the album, but I will attempt to pick out of some my favourite tracks from this superb album. Chiming bells, whistling and the hint of the wild west kicks off the album, with its title track's dark lyrics over a Latin-tinted, stop-start score providing a top-notch first track. “Consuela” is a slice of perfect, driving, shimmering indie-pop which, I'd imagine, is nigh on impossible to dislike. “It's Hard To Be Good All Time” opens up with the kind of winding guitar riff that was the highlight of many Bluetones songs, but is an understated minor key gem, with a classy, dramatic reverb-soaked chorus. “Low Company” is nothing short of magnificent, a composition that starts quietly and builds into a powerful, beautiful monster of a song. The excellent, upbeat “Life Without F(r)iction” is one of the closest things here to a Bluetones song, perhaps not coincidentally so as it features Adam Devlin on guitar, as does “Space Cadet”, another fine Bluetones-esque track. The final song on the album, “Sleep Song” is another brilliant composition, both mighty and beauteous, that has echoes of Morriss' former band.

All-in-all, this is a truly wonderful album and will delight Bluetones fans who were sad about the demise of the band. Mark and Gordon Mills, together with some special guests (including Matt Berry, playing Harmonium on Mark's decent cover of The Shins' “Pink Bullets”) have given superb, inspired and accomplished performances with a range of songs eclectic enough to make the whole album both interesting and fulfilling. The lyrics are clever, sometimes touching, sometimes funny, but always very human. A special mention must be made for the cover, which features creatures either similar or identical to the evil forest folk from South Park. The cutesy cartoon animals are slightly more sinister than they first appear on the front cover... examine all of the art carefully; it's a good metaphor for the music within the album. “A Flash Of Darkness” may have been an album Morriss approached with self-confessed uncertainty and his first without the safety net of his Bluetones day job, but it's one that cements his credentials as a solo artist and reassures fans everywhere that something they loved hasn't ended and may, in fact, be back and better than ever before.
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