Here in Australia, we have a pretty strong drinking culture. We drink to loosen up, unwind, celebrate, commiserate. We drink when we’re succeeding, failing, happy, angry, falling in love and falling out of it.
The multitude of emotions we might raise a glass to is exactly what Morgan Evans’ debut album The Things That We Drink To explores. Over just 11 tracks (when I finished my first full listen today, I was wishing for at least 4 more) he samples any pub bar’s finest, chronicling his love at first sight experience and then falling head over heels for wife Kelsea Ballerini (who is a fabulously fierce songwriter and musician in her own right) which hits peak romance with their stunning acoustic duet, Dance With Me
He also looks back in the way only a writer can, every twist of phrase packed full of nostalgia, memory and moments so viscerally visual, you feel like he’s handed you an album of the most intimate photographs. He’s drawn you, dancing and grooving along to the unmistakeably catchy melodies, straight from your headphones headfirst into the moments as they exist in his brain. Not everyone can do that, and this is only his debut!
He paints with the themes of youth, (Day Drunk) growing up in Australia and moving to America to pursue a career (We Dream) as well as the way life can change in an instant and how losing someone unexpectedly recircuits your entire world (title track, Things That We Drink To)
Normally, when I’m doing an album review (and encouraging everyone to expand their musical horizons and give this a crack), I’d break it down into a track by track review. But with this album, I feel like that would be doing it a great disservice actually because it feels like such a whole – you need every song to flow to really get it. In fact a couple of times, I didn’t even feel the song change, so natural was the progression from track to track.
My interest might have started in Morgan Evans as a curiosity in the man who captured Kelsea Ballerini’s heart but as soon as I first heard his infectiously catchy Kiss Somebody which by the way, relatable as heck (who hasn’t wanted someone to kiss them or wished they were brave enough and then suddenly you’re consumed by it???) and realised he was Australian, I knew I was in. It’s always super important to me as a self-confessed music geek to support Australian music and after hearing this brilliant album, I know I’ll be a champion of Morgan as long as he’s making music