words: Michael Brooks
Boreen, the solo project of Portland songwriter Morgan O’ Sullivan, can at times sounds like a manifestation of agoraphobia. Sullivan’s unfussy arrangements and wistful melodies could easily be the end product of a person who’s become drowned in their own solitude, but in reality, Boreen is a vehicle in which musical collaboration is turned into a mechanism for fighting off loneliness.
Boreen’s previous LP, Friends, is a heartfelt collection of songs about the people and places in Sullivan’s life, featuring drums from Harrison Smith of Turtlenecked (a frequent collaborator of Sullivan’s). Writing close to home has always been a facet of Boreen’s music, which is also true of “Gaining Weight”, the second single from Boreen’s upcoming album Lovely, a woozy, technicolored earworm that lands somewhere in the middle of the elastic freak folk and sound collage experiments of Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs and the reclusive, intrepid baroque pop stylings of The Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin.
Lovely is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to fall in love in 2018, it’s about watching yourself slowly grow more anxious and vulnerable as you begin to strip away all the layers of artifice and reveal who you truly are to your partner. “Gaining Weight” is the point in a relationship where you’ve finally moved in together and you no longer feel the pressure to constantly impress the other person, it’s when you start to let your guard down a little more and the two of you end up packing on a couple of extra pounds in the process. Built upon a foundation of stomps, claps, and plinking synths, Sullivan’s blurry vocals are surrounded by guitars and flutes that sound like they’re turning inside out. “Gaining Weight” is Sullivan’s songwriting at its most serpentine and delicate, a promising glimpse of what Lovely has in store.
Lovely is out 10/26 via Good Cheer Records.