REVIEW: Morals – ‘Float’

Artist: Morals
Album: Float
Label: Independent
Genre: Everything at once

Chances are you haven’t heard of Morals. It’s a bunch of local guys who’ve always been part of a scene but never defined one. But Morals is ready to make its mark.

The band’s debut EP, Float, was released last month. Comprised of members of now-defunct bands from the New England area, the guys are from groups as varied as the hardcore band Auburn and the pop-rock ensemble Teamwork.

Guitarist Vinnie Rupolo’s seven-year stint in the heavy-hitting Auburn came to a close last year. Shortly after, he spent hours in rehabilitation after a debilitating back surgery. He says he was in a dark place when he started writing, but he needed to vent it out and have the world hear what he had to say. Getting back into the studio was the only thing on his mind during recovery. But his new band needed to be something unique.

The members of the band all have their own interesting story and style. When combined, these make for a unique sounding record. But sometimes the constraints have made touring difficult for the guys, who’ve already shared bills with A Loss For Words and Bad Rabbits.

Take bassist Danny Roth, whose heart is beating by a robotic pump following a brush with death in 2008. Following a stroke, he’d been on medication, but when he fell ill he could no longer keep down the prescriptions.

“My mom takes me to the emergency room late one night and not five minutes in there I flatlined. Dead. Boom. They zapped me back to life, put me up in the intensive care unit, but I couldn’t get the transplant at that time because I was too sick,” Roth said. “So they decided to put a robotic heart in my chest. They dug a hole in my heart, shoved a heart pump up there. It’s been keeping me going ever since. I’m still waiting for a transplant.”

When listening to this record, you can feel the intensity permeating from personal experience into song arrangements. Plain and simple, these guys have been through some shit.

Morals is an amalgamation of its predecessors, and Float perfectly personifies its eclectic background. Providence native Nick Pires’ drumming packs a punch reminiscent of his metalcore roots while vocalist Steve Furtado’s melodies lend to the poppier tunes of his past projects.

The first song on the six-track record establishes its dynamic mold. In “Status Quo (Saddest Quo),” a dark and mysterious introduction leads to explosive and aggressive screams. The dual vocals are complementary, giving the track an enormous sound. It quickly transitions into melodic and controlled harmonies. The song features guest vocals by Brendan Brown, once singer of The Receiving End of Sirens.

The follow-up track, “Knife,” has some haunting undertones lyrically. It expands the feel of the album with the mid-2000s passion and angst of a teen battling the darker sensibilities that only guys who are in their late twenties can project.

“Codex” may be the strongest track of all, ramping the intensity and asserting that Morals isn’t working on finding its sound, but has established it early. Roth coins it the record’s crescendo. It’s the crowning moment of the playback.

For Float, the dichotomy of gently sang choruses and heavy interjection establishes the groove as more than a one-dimensional pop or hardcore group. It’s an original and passionate product of diverse sounds and backstories. The record is good to put on and let jam in the background of whatever you’re doing or for a focused isolated session with a pair of headphones and a pack of smokes. I’m looking forward to experiencing the band play live.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Derek Scancarelli

Derek Scancarelli
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