"Three more inches of hair, is a whole fucking world, of rebellion"
Does he kiss his mother with that mouth? Matthew Jay gets, for just about the only time on his album, angry. A word not normally associated with NAM strummers like Jay and Harcourt and McCrae. This is from opener, "Four Minute Rebellion", a song full of anger, vitriol, with a fair smattering of hate. It's something of a red herring. This record is, on the whole, a calm, serene, sometimes beautiful acoustic lament.
The Travis-like "Let Your Shoulder Fall" starts the album proper, and is a marvellously jaunty, fun song, full of catchy words, catchy melodies, and lines about National Holidays. It would sit proudly next to the best that NAM has to offer. It is, in short, something of a classic.
Jay doesn't quite manage to pull this off for his entire album, and there are clear, though not frequent, weak spots. For instance, the painfully maudlin "Call My Name Out" tries far too hard be memorable, and could be considered a rather obvious attempt for a hit. It’s scheduled to be a single as I write. The anti-climatic closer, "A World Away", also sounds like something Jay tags on at the end of his album for the sake of it. Maybe he's getting paid by the word.
Apart from the self indulgent "Molasses", which is a classic press-the skip-button-now track, Jay presents us with a hoard of memorable, effective tunes. The stand-out "Meteorology", is one of those smile to yourself, hairs stand up on back of neck moments, and the pleading, emotional, "Please Don't Send Me Away" was a brave choice for a single.
When listening to this album, two words scream loudly in your face. 'Nick Drake'. At times, such as on "The Clearing", Jay sounds eerily like the famous-after-dead folkie, and who knows? Maybe he could even reach the peaks Drake did in his woefully short career. "Draw" certainly gives us reasons for optimism.
So, turn the TV off, shut the curtains, pour yourself a glass of red wine, and put this record on your stereo. It won't change your life, but it'll make it just that bit more bearable.
8Joe Wisbey's Score