“Always Becoming” by Melissa Grey, David Morneau, and Robert Kirkbride

In the wake of a heavenly cloud of harmonizing tones which seem to have no origin, we’re led down an eerie but entirely melodic path into thick sonic forestry, the light string play of Melissa Grey, David Morneau, and Robert Kirkbride serving as our only lantern amidst the darkness. This is “Becoming,” the closing track on their four-song EP Always Becoming, and although it’s preceded by some incredible chills in the equally textured “Ever,” there’s something very unique about this particular selection from their latest spring release. 

The “Being” here expedites the tempo and puts tone ahead of any hooks while “Always” throttles us with understated adrenaline sourced as much from the bet as it is the guitar parts, but in “Becoming,” these additional elements are presented to us in a further muted state, forcing all of the attention in the room onto the fire our leading band is starting on the fretboard. They are getting back to the roots of the classical melodic model in Always Becoming, and sounding like one of the best projects in their class along the way. 

There’s a lot of tension as we ascend through the initial bars of “Ever” that never finds the catharsis that the “Being” in Always Becoming is built around, but I think the two songs have more in common on an aesthetical level than any other pairing on this record does. When juxtaposed beside one another, I think these tracks exhibit the multidimensionality of the groups approach to arranging without overstating any one particular theme in their style of attack which, by all critical accounts, is pretty difficult to pull off.

The blistering solos a lot of us first think of when breaking down instrumental virtuosity, no matter what kind of record or band we’re talking about in the grander scheme of things, are replaced with elements of surrealism in “Always” and “Becoming,” as if to tease how anthemic the two songs could be in a live setting where they could truly come undone before a small club crowd in the best way possible. Other than starting the EP off with “Ever” instead of “Being”, there isn’t a thing I would change about Always Becoming; it’s got a strong flow, a startling array of stylizations, and a handful of grooves I don’t see myself forgetting anytime soon. It’s not quite progressive, but the concept here is not easily escapable regardless of who is listening – or what perspective they’re listening from. 

I was just introduced to their music recently, but having been an instrumental lover for the better part of my life, I would be lying if I said that this record didn’t immediately speak to me as being incredibly accessible, and more importantly than that, evocative in ways that simplistic pop EPs could never be, regardless of who’s sitting in the producer’s chair. Melissa Grey, David Morneau, and Robert Kirkbrideunleashes one heck of a melodic beast in Always Becoming – one that would appeal to casual fans as much as it would serious audiophiles, I should add – and I can’t wait to see and hear the kind of magic they are going to bring forth in the future. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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