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Morton Valence: Left

Third album by the ‘urban country’ duo.

Morton Valence evoke numerous comparisons, from Luke Haines to Prefab Sprout and Band Of Holy Joy (with whom songwriter Robert Jessett was briefly affiliated), but there is no one operating across quite the same terrain as they do.

They drift with phantom ease from spare, intimate, literate alt. country to a nuanced, weighted music bearing the marks and burdens of rock’n’roll history: Old Punks (Part I), for instance, or opener The Day I Went To Bed For 10 Years, the saga of the rise and fall of a hip celebrity.

Left is a uniquely haunting experience, not least in Anne Gilpin’s rendering of Annie McFall, delivered from the point of view of a dead murder victim, followed by a pulse-stopping version of Randy Newman’s In Germany Before The War, inspired by Fritz Lang’s M, in which the antihero is a child murderer.

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.