After picking up the guitar at age 14 it didn’t take long for London-born songbird Flo Morrissey to discover the thrill of songwriting. Emboldened her family’s support and the response of the online community Morrissey left school at 17 to pursue her a career songwriting. It was the homemade video that accompanied a song written at age 15, an ethereal visual representation of childhood happiness and freedom, which led the young artist to Glassnote Records and eventually to producer Noah Georgeson (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Cate Le Bon). Show Me then became the foundation of her debut album, Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful, a collection of songs written over the period spanning her earliest musical endeavours to her most recent. Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful is an honest and inspired navigation of adolescence that, despite being lovingly naïve at times, manages to develop a retrospective and timeless depth regardless of the singer’s youth.
It is this key track that opens the album, with Morrissey’s swooping voice backed by understated acoustic guitar and sporadic piano. Showcasing the clear influence of the inimitable Kate Bush, Show Me drifts along, lead by pure vocals and lyrics that are at times sophisticated and at others charmingly childish. Pages of Gold continues to develop and traipse this undulating soundscape, with profoundly personal exploration of teenage confusion bolstered by a more powerful chorus.
A well-versed piano riff opens If You Can’t Love This All Goes Away, whose almost saccharine sweetness gives way to a grittier chorus driven by layers of strings and backing vocals – a welcome interruption to the continual prettiness that defines much of the album. Tracks like Wildflowers and Betrayed reveals more of Morrissey’s modern-folk influences, whose tragic string arrangements and wailing vocals recall artists like Tim and Jeff Buckley, and Karen Dalton. Wildflowers is particularly affecting as Morrissey shifts effortlessly between her vocal registers, revealing a surprisingly stark chest voice that has formidable potential.
As the meandering chimes, soaring cello and moving rubato of the title track close Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful, it becomes clear that Flo Morrissey has a real gift for intimate songwriting. Her ability to reflect an endearing, youthful naiveté while appearing soulfully timeless informs the album’s entirety. While its overwhelming “prettiness” eventually becomes almost overindulgent, moments of gravel and grit prove that, with experience and growth, Morrissey can certainly explore a heavier aesthetic and create more weighty moments.