Matt Pless’s ‘Songs in the Key of Blue’
Four songs. Four new songs. Four new full band songs, from Matt Pless. Matt’s a traveling singer songwriter from Brooklyn NY.
Matt Pless has traveled to Columbus many times. He typically plays solo, acoustic, and generally tours with a friend. He’s just released a new four song digital download called ‘Songs in the Key of Blue’. What’s different about these recordings is they’re full band endeavors. (Full album credit: Matt Pless, Zac Pless, Melissa Lucciola, Jacob Panic, Tim Kaye, and ‘The Alchemist’).
The recording quality is pretty nice. High fidelity and all that. You can clearly hear all parts, definitely not lo-fi. He’s pressed 300 vinyls.
‘The Devil May Care’
First song on the download, opens with Matt’s harmonica. ‘I just want to wake up next to someone that I love, but lately i’ve been waking up alone.’ ‘Sweet melancholy’s rocked me in her arms since you’ve been gone.’ That’s just a few of the lines from the first verse of this song. To listen to Matt Pless is to listen to dense walls of well crafted lyrics full of symbolism. ‘It’s too late…’ ‘I’ve let her go God bless her soul wherever she may be.’ Getting over a breakup. Bittersweet and spirited.
Very folk vibe in sound. This generally reminds me of Conor Oberst’s work with his larger band post-Bright Eyes. ‘We’re going hungry in the breadline tonight.’ Matt is first and foremost a songwriter. His lyrics are the centerpiece of every song. That Dylan-esque lyrical ability. ‘We all make the journey from cradle to hearse.’ Cool song, full of imagery of currently modern day struggles. I like that he has a line about entrepreneurs, followed immediately by panhandlers.
‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’
He gets me with the opening riff. He’s finger picking the ‘bass’ root notes on the guitar while playing lead over it with the same hand. Simple and effective. ‘And now you see yourself for what you are.’ ‘You swore that you’d make history and dance among the stars/ you’re just another face lost in the crowd.’ ‘The truth is that I hope you’re happy now.’ ‘Your one true love has called your bluff and shown you the door.’ ‘Consider this the last twist of the knife.’ It could be about a lot of things. A breakup? And ended partnership? A parting of ways of friends? Perhaps thats part of the beauty, is that it could be many things to many people. Perhaps it invites you to apply your own life to the songs twists and turns. One things for sure, it hits hard. Matt is both seething and tender with this standout track. My personal favorite of the four. You can totally imagine everyone sitting on the floor in huddles holding each other close while this song gets earnestly played. (That may have actually happened a few weeks ago.)
‘Salesmen’s peddling the medicine while the patients wearing thin.’ ‘The prima donnas are on display.’ Two minutes and 44 seconds. Rambling honky tonk folk song. ‘The guilty hang yeah they come in droves / they’re taking a one way trip through Barren Grove.’ You could almost call it a prison blues. Mixed with societal critique. ‘Fools consumed by their foolish pride.’ ‘Everyone’s doing time in Barren Grove.’ Kind of like we’re all in our own weird ways on figurative death row due to our wayward ways in our current time and day.
Rustic, rich. Matt Pless’s latest offering ‘Songs in the Key of Blue’ is a caterwauling cacophony of folk and Dylan-esque lyricism. Well produced, wide open arrangements which are spaced enough to be able to breath.