In the Summer of 1996, London indie four-piece The Bluetones astounded the mainstream when their brilliant single ‘Slight Return’ entered the official singles chart at number two, kept off the top slot only by Babylon Zoo’s astral pop-rock behemoth ‘Spaceman’.
Through tracks such as 'Marblehead Johnson' and 'Sleazy Bed Track', the wry lyricism of #Mark #Morriss elevated The Bluetones inspired tune-Smithery to Wildean heights. Attendantly observant, his songs trade in acerbicism as well as intimate empathy, his pen poised to expose hypocrisy as much as to compare a new squeeze's love to a much-loved jumper
At a time when Oasis were on their post-Britpop descent and Tony Blair was yet to landslide to power to the soundtrack of Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ in 1997, The Bluetones were a timely reminder of decency and integrity in the cocaine blizzard of the time, a grounding reflected in their record label’s moniker Superior Quality records..
This year has already seen and is yet to see mighty releases from the likes of Kent's Weekend Recovery, Watford's Alpine Attack and other luminaries, but it's with the time-honoured classicism of trusted, travelling artisans such as Mark Morriss where the faith of the past is put to the test of the internet age.
The Matt Berry connection
This brush with the top of the charts led to a flurry of subsequent high-flying releases for the band, before principal songwriter Mark Morriss embarked on a solo career of his own. As well as playing in comedian Matt Berry’s touring band, Morriss released a covers album of his favourite songs, including a sublime version of the genius Scott Walker’s ‘Scott 4’ masterpiece, ‘Duchess’.
In much the same way as fellow Londoners The Magic Sponge rewrote their own rulebook this year with their 'Countrification' EP, Mark Morriss keeps his dedicated audience guessing with each new release, and his forthcoming UK shows will leave them baying once again..
Mark Morriss is set to return in 2017 with new album ‘Look Up’, and prior to that will play a special show at St Paul’s Church in Worthing, West Sussex on Friday 14th April. The semi-converted building is the jewel in the rejuvenating resort’s crown, featuring recent performances by Lloyd Cole (of The Commotions ‘Perfect Skin’ fame) and a DJ set by Dexys Midnight Runners’ Kevin Rowland, and is a grandly unique venue to experience the song-craft of one of the genre’s true modern masters. A handful of tickets are still available at seetickets.com. #thebluetones