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Live Review: MorMor's 'Whatever Comes to Mind' is a serenity prayer for modern anxiety

27 April 2018 | 9:28 am | Kyle Fensom

MorMor follows up his breakout debut single with 'Whatever Comes to Mind', a serenity prayer for modern anxiety that dwells between dream-pop and R&B.

On his breakout debut single, ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful’, the enigmatic Toronto singer-songwriter MORMOR (aka SETH NYQUIST) demonstrated a fully-formed ability to dwell in the spaces in-between genres in a way that set his vision apart from his contemporaries amongst Toronto’s rising soul scene. He continues to dwell in these spaces on the follow-up single, ‘Whatever Comes to Mind’, a track that gracefully meanders between dream-pop, indie rock and R&B.

Like his debut, ‘Whatever Comes to Mind’ subsumes heavy lyrical themes within light, crisp percussion, vintage organs and dreamy synths that combine in a nostalgic, delicate, seemingly carefree arrangement. But bubbling underneath, open, unresolved guitar chords introduce a sense of uncertainty into the arrangement, as MorMor’s anxiety comes into full focus on the swelling, pop-friendly chorus: “Whatever comes to mind that you can’t wish / I’m looking for a sign that you can’t miss.” Floating through wistful instrumentation, MorMor’s soulful falsetto caresses you through the ambivalence of life’s unpredictability underscoring the track.

This awareness of life’s ambivalent trajectory carries itself throughout MorMor’s entire vocal performance, with his off-kilter cadence and phrasing meandering through certain lines, seemingly dropping off halfway as he modulates through drawn-out syllables, and hurrying through others. That his voice can sound both airy and anxiety-laden at the same time, that it can provide sanctuary to these dual emotions, and that you can hear MorMor’s indecision when he tests out his vocals at the start of the track marks his performance an impressive study in emotional dichotomies in and of itself. 

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MorMor’s ‘Whatever Comes to Mind’ is a serenity prayer for modern anxiety: it gives you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, but allows you permission to still feel anxious about those things that you cannot change regardless.

IMAGE: Jake Sherman