Morning Brigade’s story is about “complicated” and “uncomplicated” and knowing that neither one is wrong. Their origin, for example, isn’t terribly complicated (but that’s okay): guy comes from D.C. to Chapel Hill, NC, in 2011. Other guy recognizes first guy's talent and they start a band. Other folks get added one by one, and before you know it you have six best friends getting more used to the term “indie-folk-rock” every day.
As uncomplicated as things were up to that point, the group suddenly realized they had some complicated truths to consider: They had six people but no bassist; they called themselves rock but they were acoustic; they called themselves folk but they covered Coldplay and The Beatles. This, they realized, was weird.
Everywhere they went they were asked questions. Are you folk? Are you rock? Indie? Bluegrass? Acoustic? Chamber pop? What are you?
Well, it’s complicated (but that’s okay). Especially because at the end of the day their songs are as approachable and accessible as anything you’ll hear on the radio. Singer Peter Vance’s lyrics keep the songs grounded with storytelling and rich imagery, while strings and bells lift them to dizzying emotional heights. And as sweeping and ethereal as the instrumentation can be, the three-part harmonies keep the human element strong.
The non-formula has proved a success: In 2013 they played Hopscotch, Eno River Festival, Shakori Hills Festival, TEDxUNC, Barnstock and Chapel Hill’s Locally Grown series, all before hitting their second birthday as a band. They've been praised in press for a sound that is at once both epic and intimate. When they started, ages ranged from 18 to 20, leading the Indy Weekly to remark that they “sound like a band that couldn’t possibly be so young.” The band’s debut album “Above Our Heads” was released in late 2012 to positive reviews.
The moral of our story? Being Morning Brigade can get complicated, but enjoying the music is as simple as can be.
"The name Morning Brigade certainly suits the sound of the young Chapel Hill sextet that takes it. Their lilting acoustic indie rock rises with the promise of a balmy Carolina dawn. It's fresh, vibrant and bright, with playful violin and piano parts flitting throughout songs written with ambition big enough to match the earnestness that seems to leap from frontman Peter Vance's throat."
- Grayson Currin, Indy Week [+]