Artist: Keith Morris & Crooked Numbers
Album: ‘Psychopaths & Sycophants’
Possessing the passion to honestly share the experience of how it feels to truly be alive, especially during a period of political turmoil, is a stunning ability in anyone. But Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers also respectfully maintain the ability to create candid songs that straightforwardly question the current state of society on their upcoming third album, ‘Psychopaths & Sycophants.’
The band, which hails from Charlottesville, Virginia, has crafted tracks that are full of grit and swagger. Their songwriting embodies the voice of an outsider who’s pushed to the edge by personal experience in a world that’s on the brink of collapse. The lyrics are fueled by a feeling of alienation, as well an innate yearning for for redemption amidst a decaying society.
‘Psychopaths & Sycophants’ begins with the entry ‘The Future,’ which is a cover of the song of the same name that was originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen. Although the initial track was released in the early 1990s, its message is still as powerful as it was when it first hit the airwaves. The group’s new version powerfully questions what the future may hold for mankind. With an energetic, rock-n-roll feel to the instrumentation, the tune offers a glimpse into what type of musicians Morris and his bandmates are, as the singer proclaims that he sees the painful consequences that society will face in the future.
Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers then delve into the inquisitive and politically-charged entry, ‘What Happened to Your Party.’ The singer authoritatively declares that he has seen the future, and it’s consumed by murder. Taking inspiration from Cohen and Bob Dylan, Morris challenges the current American political system and its leaders. Aided by a slow, simmering steel guitar and soulful drum accompaniment, the vocalist proclaims that he doesn’t mean to cause a scene, but he has to question what politicians choose to do. While the song clocks in at an astonishing 8 minutes and 45 seconds, a shorter version would be stunningly effective as the score in a move or television scene about politics.
The third entry on ‘Psychopaths & Sycophants’ is ‘Thousand Mile Stairs,’ which addresses the loss of innocence in society. The tune features a gripping mix of slow and soulful piano chords and drum beats, as Morris emotionally reveals that someone in his life has crossed the line repeatedly, which has left him with no choice but to walk on the journey they created for him.
‘Thousand Mile Stairs’ then transitions into the album’s title track, which is one of the best entries on ‘Psychopaths & Sycophants.’ The song focuses on shining a light on the wrongdoings of all the leaders who are running society. Led by a jazz-infused piano, Morris grippingly croons about how politicians have no shame, and how he can spot the lies in their speeches. The tune is a powerful declaration of the singer-songwriter’s anger at the way leaders rule.
Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers then delve into the mellow entry, ‘Canebrake,’ which is fueled by a soulful instrumental introduction. The singer proclaims how he doesn’t know how the title snake, which is used as a metaphor for America’s current leaders, made it into the house. Morris takes a dramatic stance in finding a way to remove the leaders, no matter how persistent they may be.
The band’s next track is ‘67%,’ which features more hard-rock vocals, and memorable drums during its introduction. The politically-charged tune focuses on how politicians have stated that the public is somewhat to blame for the victims’ deaths in the band’s hometown of Charlottesville last summer. Morris empathizes with the victims of the rally, as he questions how leaders can turn on those people who were hurt, without regard for their pain.
The next entry on ‘Psychopaths & Sycophant,’ which is titled ‘Charlottesville By Name,’ continues examining the tragedy in the group’s hometown. The tune explores how people can implicitly follow a leader, and leave their beliefs behind in the process. Morris penned the song in direct response to the rally in the title city, as he declares that he’s opposed to the hatred and violence that took place that weekend. The track is more soulful and reflective that its predecessor, as he states that people must turn themselves around, in order to overcome both their pain and evil that has arise in society.
The record continues with its penultimate entry, ‘Narcissist,’ which focuses on a man who’s too stuck on himself to see the big picture of what is going on around him. ‘Psychopaths & Sycophant’ then grippingly ends with a cover of another Cohen song, ‘In My Secret Life,’ which features the same soulful vibe as its predecessor. Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers’ original take on the track features the inclusion of the organ, which helps create a slightly more upbeat feel. Also backed by a Gospel Choir, the tune helps the band’s latest album end on a strong note.
Maintaining the dedication to honestly share the experience of how it feels to truly be alive, especially during a period of political unrest, is a stunning ability in anyone. But Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers also respectfully possess the ability to create candid songs that straightforwardly question the current state of society on ‘Psychopaths & Sycophants.’