MORTAL PROPHETS – “SLEEPING IN MY BED”
A SPILL EXCLUSIVE MUSIC PREMIERE
Having already taken the group’s ethos to almost unimaginable heights with last summer’s Dealey Plaza Blues, NYC-based experimental rock musician John Beckmann, doing daring and dauntless business as the Mortal Prophets, returns with the 6-song Sleeping In My Bed EP (due March 15) to assure us that that remarkable piece of work was no fluke. The EP’s announcement today is additionally accompanied by the release of its title track and its lyric video.
Proving beyond doubt his placement on the list of this country’s canonical songwriters, Beckmann has gotten his house so much so that, upon any release but this one especially, it’s fair to expect a string of classics resounding through its hallways, no matter from which stylistic room any particular track may originate.
With its initial swirl of dusty acoustic and dark effects and the drone of a uniquely American dread hanging over it, the atmospheric, cinematic, and wholly evocative opener “A Gun and a Prayer” has one imagining Morricone lost in a new bad dream of sad American heroism even as the track is as head-nodding addictive as anything Beckmann has produced. “Sleeping in My Bed,” with its sultry, soulful blues vamp soaked in saxophone and menace creating a vibe that places it midway between a bar on Bourbon St at 6 AM and a tent revival, drips with an incantatory fever, Beckmann’s vocal, against an arrangement of horn and lowing organ, leaving no doubt as to the narrator’s intention. “Tom Waits in Drag” not only speaks for itself but, coming on the (likely high) heels of that title track, proves the perfect segue as it takes place on Bourbon Street before “Hell or High Water” continues down this EP’s sublimely dissipated path, yearning and obsession laid bare for all to hear and then there’s three more past that but let’s leave those for your discovery as you undoubtedly have the idea.
As a piece of work, Sleeping in My Bed, as is true of any and all of The Mortal Prophet’s work, suggests a reimagining of Tin Pan Alley after years of neglect and abuse, brought back to stunning life with all its wounds and scars and shattered glass right out there in the open yet no less inspiring and swoon-worthy for all that. This is a modern pop music that, on the one hand, is fearless in its conjuring of a broken world while, on the other, clings with great faith to the precepts of classic American songwriting. No one else is attempting this with quite the verve and fearlessness as The Mortal Prophets, nor is anyone succeeding to a level heard here on the new EP. A great artist doing great work is usually more than enough, but when that work also speaks to the national psyche and the wounded human heart beating inside it, that’s everything that could be asked for from any songwriter. John Beckmann delivers just that
Sleeping In My Bed
Release Date: March 15, 2024