I can’t say that I was familiar with John Bursch at all. But in the span of a few days, his potential has stricken me, and though acoustic pop has never been a taste of mine, it’s easy to see that Bursch has started on a great footing with Good Morning, Morning.
Taking influence from genre staples such as NeverShoutNever, there is an immediate catchiness factor that hooks you into the tracks “Find a Way” and “See How This Goes.” What leaves a lasting impression though is the wide versatility. The electronic lines aren’t just basic beats nor is the guitar playing merely simple strumming, both of which plague many acts that attempt to pursue this sound. Especially in the latter track, the guitar melodies are actually quite complex and mesh well with the playful lyricism and suited vocal patterns.
At other times, there is a more folk and alt-country presentation, as seen in “June,” which continues to highlight Bursch’s diverse culmination of sound through the acoustic guitar. Though it is the same medium, he readily shows that he isn’t constrained to a single style and is not trying to imitate similar acts. Lyrical content reflects a seemingly personal side of Bursch that for the most part avoids cliches but is susceptible to them at times. The forefront and peak of all these distinguishing factors can be seen in the standout track, “A While.” Acoustic lines spring around freely, with complexity that only uses strumming to create a rhythm rather than using it as a songwriting crutch. The song builds up to an electronic climax that pulses with a deep bass which complements the lower octave melodies and returns with a final toe-tapping chorus that is sure to be repeated by fans of the genre.
The remainder of the album splits in presentation; “Waste Not, Want Not!” and closer “Thanks For Everything” present a more meaningful and restrained tone while “Tunnel Vision” and “Smile” explore a festive and bright undertone. While they are certainly quick, loving and fun, they do repeat the structure and melody a few too many times, but the overall value of the tracks will help you listen along and smile. Returning to “Waste Not, Want Not!” though, Bursch utilizes his strong lower-tuned vocals to juxtapose a short but sweet piano line that rings to and fro in the track, providing more atmosphere and depth to an otherwise straightforward song. The same goes for “Thanks For Everything,” which uses expressive and speedy picking that jumps across strings and glides quickly over scales. Distant chimes, mellowed orchestral arrangements and bell-like ringing make this a distinct closing track, solidifying Bursch’s strong entrance into acoustic pop.
Though I can’t proclaim myself an avid fan of the genre, John Bursch performs it well. Very well. The fact that he is the only musician performing on Good Morning, Morning is an even greater indication of the talent he possesses and reveals. The difference is, by the time he has a few more records under his belt, Bursch will be better than such veterans.
For Fans Of: NeverShoutNever, Dave Melillo, hints of Secondhand Serenade