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Morton Valence - Bob and Veronica's Great Escape

  by John Clarkson

published: 22 / 2 / 2019

Morton Valence - Bob and Veronica's Great Escape
Label: Bastard Recordings
Format: CD


Understated folk pop-influenced sixth album from South London band Morton Valence which finds them escaping from reality

Morton Valence's 2017 last album 'Europa', which was recorded out of reaction to the Brexit result, was a covers album that featured songs in seven different languages and included tracks by Kraftwerk and Serge Gainsbourg. As much a celebration of European culture and music as it was a political statement, it met with a mixed reaction, winning funding from fans through a Kickstarter campaign but leading to the band being targeted by trolls and receiving death threats. One can not blame Morton Valence, which is centred around the duo of Robert 'Hacker' Jessett and Anne Gilpin, amidst such misinterpretation and negativity for wanting to make the main theme of their new album 'Bob and Veronica's Great Escape' about escaping into oneself and withdrawing from the world. 'Bob and Veronica's Great Escape' is a sublime experience. Songs are stripped back, and, often based around simply an acoustic guitar and Jessett and Gilpin's gorgeous, intertwining vocals, sparse yet breezy. There is an air of optimistic 60's folk pop to it, and, after another seemingly endless and grey winter, it is a record for the spring. The harmonic 'It's a New Morning' is about two ex-junkies, both clean for a year, who get back together after a long absence. "It might all go up in flames again," Jessett and Gilpin sing together, but the whole tone of this opening track is of renewed hope. 'Hey Misty' ("There is a smile in your face/But there is a sadness in your eyes"), which is expanded by light echoes of Alan Cook's pedal steel, and the hazy, soft psychedelia of 'Goldenlights' ("Nothing matters anymore") are also tender love songs and once more about starting over. As 'Bob and Veronica's Great Escape' progresses, it, however, becomes apparent that any retreat from the world can only be temporary, that reality will always intervene eventually in the end. "Life goes on outside our world of make belief," sing Jessett and Gilpin on the harmony-laden 'Maybe We Could Go Down and See', and its two secluded lovers are faced with the choice after hearing a banging on the door downstairs of going to see who it is or hiding away for a little longer ("Why should we go down and see?/There is nobody else/Just you and me"). There is also a real moment of darkness in 'Black Eyed Susan', a reworking of a song from little heard Morton Valence offshoot band Black Angel Drifter's 2016 eponymous and only album. For all its upbeat and beautiful sound, it is in fact a story of murder and filicide. In its last few minutes 'Bob and Veronica's Great Escape' throws in a real twist with the semi-orchestral tuning up of brief instrumental 'The Final Segue', in which keyboards are heard on the album for the first time. It then concludes in a rush of stabbing electronica with the delightfully silly 'Mr Whippy', an unreleased early recording of Morton Valence from 2006, in which Jessett singing through a megaphone pays tribute to his favourite ice cream. 'Bob and Veronica's Great Escape' finds Morton Valence fifteen years after first forming continuing to defy their audience and fanbase's expectations, and producing something both original and unique.

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Interview (2019)
Morton Valence - Interview
John Clarkson speaks to Rob Jessett from South London formed indie act Morton Valence about their sixth album ‘Bob and Veronica’s Great Escape’, which is about escaping from the world, and their new film documentary.
Interview (2017)
Interview (2014)
Interview (2011)

digital downloads



Black Angel Drifter (2020)
Unusual and obscure album from London 'urban country' duo Morton Valence, which, originally released under the alias of Black Angel Drifter, is now being reissued on vinyl under their own name
Another Country (2015)
Christmas in Valence (2011)
Me and Home James (2011)

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