Press Reviews

Étienne Greib on "Hapless" in
MAGIC rpm #100 (May 2006)

On Sunday evenings at the Pop In's Open Mic, I've been occasionally moved
by the sincerity and less often yet by the talent of some of the songwriters there.
In the case of Morgan Caris, a.k.a. Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin, it was unmistakably clear from the very first note: Outside space and time, and a hundred leagues above the rest. One could mention Leonard Cohen (Girls), John Cunningham (Happy Things), David Pajo, Bill Callahan or Nick Drake (distilled everywhere), or just simply mention craftstmanship. Morgan Caris is a craftsman, an anomaly, a man of the XIXth century. In that respect Mouldings is the greatest song of the XIXth century. These outdated tunes are oblivious to the mediocrity of the age. They stand their own ground. And God damn it, what lyrics ! Selecting excerpts would only hint at the excellence of Hapless. Let's try anyway: “Why do you dress up like a whore/I do not love you anymore”, “When you're alone there is no one to keep you caged in/When you're alone there is no one to keep you warm”, “You say I gotta find my place/Well my place is inside of you”. Morgan Caris observes from a distance and constructs overwhelming stories. Stories of betrayal, surrender and isolation. On Sweet Wife he even brushes upon sheer genius as he invents a fable that can only be described by the song itself. Not even Bill Callahan or Will Oldham had come up with such a tale, so you can be sure Morgan Caris will have a rich continuation. As bitter as damaged American lives, and as magnificently sad as the English countryside in fading headlights.

Maxime Guitton on "Hapless" in
Chroniqu'Art (April 2006)

If Hapless' cover resembles a collage of various artworks of Will Oldham albums
(Black / Rich music, Joya, In my mind) and if the band sometimes complacently borders on Mojave3 or Leonard Cohen (Girls), luckily the album more often manages to take flight, finding itself at heights where the finger-picked melodies reach a form of disarming asceticism as well as an abstract simplicity: the notes flow down into waterfalls of chords from one platform to the next, smooth and flowing, supple and round, true and immediate. It is then that tracks like I Do Not Love You Anymore or Running Dry end up conveying the idea of the perfect folk song: fantasies of an entirely self-reliant ecosystem that contains within itself the entire world in all it's unfolded possibilities. The more we listen, the more we look for all the things we want to find, confident that they will be there.

Johanna Seban on "Hapless" in
Les Inrockuptibles #564 (Sep 20 2006)

Behind that improbable name is a songwriter from France whose beautiful first
collection of songs is compiled on "Hapless," the first proper album to come out of the Waterhouse Records studios. Those Parisian studios had previously concieved a few other likable if discreet projects (among them the compilation "Folks Pop in at the Waterhouse.") Hapless brings together thirteen sumptuously melancholic ballads (Lay Down Your Arms) that fade into the night in the way some records by Smog or Clem Snide do. You'll hear strings. I won't lie and say that it sounds like a Nick Drake or Leonard Cohen album, but will simply state the facts: Hapless sounds like the record of a talented admirer of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, which is saying a lot.

Han Orsel on "Hapless" in
Kinda Muzik (August 2006)

To the long list of bands with long and beautiful names we can add one more:
Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin. Morgan Caris is the man behind the band and with Hapless he can measure up to the best works of Leonard Cohen or Smog. That is to say it is a dark masterwork, the intensity of which does not fade. Morgan's poignant vocals are central and the arrangements as sparce as they are efficiemt. The magnificent string section on Lay down Your Arms, one of the strongest tracks on the album, or the backing vocals of Vanina Leschi on Girls. Eventhough we are dealing here with a Frenchman, the lyrics are all in English, and more importantly Caris' influeces are Anglo-Saxon. Morgan grew up in the US and sings without an accent, unlike some other French bands. He wrote the songs for this album on a trip to Canada with the absence of his friends in mind. Homesickness and desolation can be heard in the lyrics, though they are never depressing or pessimistic. They can actually come with a bitter grain of salt as in Sweet Wife. The music is slow throughout, and the approach so minimal that every little thing strikes. Like that beautiful guitar work in Childhood. The record has few shifts of mood which only increases its intensity. As José Gonzáles is inspired by Nick Drake, Morgan Caris is influenced by Leonard Cohen. Mostly the Cohen of Song From a Room. And much like Gonzáles, Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin will no doubt gather a greater audience. There is already a small chance that we will encounter one of
the tracks from Hapless in a TV commercial.

Pierre Andrieu on "Hapless" in (April 2006)

Following the precious compilation Folks Pop In at the Waterhouse - released
recently on the new folk label Waterhouse Records - comes a second release once again recorded in the label's own analog studio. We are dealing with the successful first album of an artist with an improbable name: Flowers From The Man Who Shot Your Cousin. Buenas Tardes Amigo, the amazing song by Ween, immediately comes to mind: the folk / country-western epic story of vengeance between two brothers in which the surviving brother accuses an innocent man when he is in fact the one who, for reasons of jealousy, sent his own brother up to Boot Hill... If the name of the band (Morgan Caris and his many friends) evokes that song by Ween, the voice, arrangements and quality of the songs bring to mind the compositions of the unforgetable Leonard Cohen. Nick Drake and Simon and Garfunkel's best works also come to mind... and of course the masterful Will Oldham is not that far either. Bare-acoustic guitar, moving vocals, tear-jerking cellos, camp-fire melodies, every lover of So Long Marianne, Suzanne, River Man or the Sound of Silence should feel well at home in this resolutely unadorned album, backed up by an impressive inspiration and flawless pen. Eventhough spring is in the air these days, Hapless will almost make you want to sign up for another six months of winter, huddled by the fireplace, a guitar in one corner, by yourself or with a few folksinger "friends"
like Neil young or Bob Dylan.

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Press Photos (high res)
by Laurent Orseau

Hapless Cover (high res)

One Sheet (pdf)