Morella's Forest
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Morella's Enchanted Forest

At least half a century of rock and roll, and still there is a lack of standout rock acts. Ignore the droning sounds of post-grunge turned ska-rockers and wanna be punk kids gone Manson glam. When did we turn down this dead-end street, and how long till we regain our bearing? Look no further than Dayton, Ohio, where power-pop rockers, "Morellas Forest" have launched what may be the quintessential rock album of the summer '98.

The latest offering from thrice seasoned Morella's Forest oozes with the vibrance of a fresh, young, and hungry garage band straight outta the '80's. Comprised of Sydney Rentz (vocals, lyrics), Shawn Johnson (guitars/keyboards), Sean McCorkle (Bass), and Nate McCorkle (drums), "From Dayton With Love" captures the band in their sonic glory, and forecasts a fate which will in all likelihood result in this album being labeled 'classic'.

Reminiscent of everything '80's, actually Material Issue teamed with The Primitives and released on 4AD succinctly sums up the attitude. Nowadays a carefree album with a bouncy power pop edge singles itself out to be severely criticized. Pop-affected or not Rentz's vocals quickly turn gutsy as her own private power trio churn out the mesmerizing basslines, superfuzzed guitar, and enchanting rhythmic grooves.

As surprising as it is to find and album with this many potential chart-toppers, the sonic-pop foundry "From Dayton with Love" beckons re-listening, if simply to answer that haunting question, "Are they really that great?" Yes, and then some. Delicately balancing luscious pop vocals and a barrage of rip roaring power chords is without question a double-edge sword. And this dangerous life in the balance seems to be what fuels MoFo's inferno.

On 'Waiting' supernova guitar spacially envelope the room while delicate vocals penetrate the soul, all contrastingly supported by a razor-sharp chorus. The heady 'instrumental' delves into a heavy groove and supported by a dub-heavy bass; only to throw itself headlong into the sonic bliss only Morella's Forest can create. Find also herein a blissful rendition of Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America' whose lush orchestrated strings come courtesy of producer Keith Cleversley (Hum, Low, Flaming Lips). There's something in all of us that naturally questions the legitimacy and immediacy of something unbelievably 'right'. But sometimes it comes along, and when it does, it's just gotta be accepted for what it is, when it is. Morella's Forest is now, and since we don't know how long this good thing is gonna last, there is no better time than the present. Ten fun power-pop tracks in all, complete with a nifty bonus track tucked neatly in at the end.

- Michael J. Frick


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