In Closing – In Closing

 In Closing – In Closing

In Closing – In Closing – EP Review

I’ve been writing for years about that…that thing…that indescribable feeling you get when you hear something extraordinary…that tingle in your spine…that chill that runs through you when you stumble upon music from an artist or band that seems to resonate within the fabric of your DNA…THAT thing.  As it turns out…just the other day I was reading an article that actually confirms that there’s scientific data to show evidence of that being a REAL thing that certain people experience when listening to music.

I experienced that incredible feeling yet again the moment I started this new sonic post-rock influenced adventure from In Closing on the new self-titled EP.  As “Days Past” began, that old familiar shiver shot through me as the guitar melody started to sparkle & shine amidst a growing intensity & richness in the atmosphere surrounding it.  As the tension broke for a moment, the guitar tones ring out sweetly before In Closing sends this first tune towards the stratosphere with thick, distorted guitars sounding stunning before “Days Past” heads into the most quickly-paced moments in the song just shortly after.  But you can instantly hear it…you can FEEL it…there’s something seriously special brewing here…

Now…I pegged In Closing as a ‘post-rock influenced’ project…you can see that’s a quote direct from just the paragraph before this one…but there is so much more to this project and “Days Past” completely proves that all on its own.  The way this song transitions from part-to-part is massively impressive – you’ve gotta hand it to both the writing and execution of these ideas…they’re entirely progressive in their structure and deliver on the promise of a mind-blowing experience in music you’ll seriously remember.  As many times as I listened to this self-titled EP and as solid as I feel like all four of these songs truly are – I kept coming back to “Days Past” like I had a special connection to it unlike any of the rest.  This song was the first impression I had of In Closing’s music, style and sound…to hear it rip across so many genres & styles…to hear the precision, confidence and creativity…I mean c’mon, it’s not every day that you discover a new instrumental project that speaks this boldly and clearly through the music.  As things calmed down past the three-minute mark of “Days Past” I thought it couldn’t get any better as In Closing launched into a compellingly melodic part just past the mid-song breakdown…and then those guitar notes come SOARING into the mix and you begin to realize that “Days Past” is actually an entire series of amazing ideas being combined into one highly-imaginative and highly-skillful instrumental.  As the first song on the new EP ticks past the four and a half-minute mark, somehow, In Closing has yet another dimension to reveal and gear to shift into, taking “Days Past” straight up & into the beyond of your wildest expectations as it heads to the end and absolutely filling your speakers to the brim with incredible sound.

THAT is how you make a first impression people…and a lasting impact.

As it turns out…In Closing is actually ONE MAN…a solo-project helmed by Matt Murphy out of Denver, Colorado…and sir, my hat is off to you brother.  I know in my heart of hearts that this takes a massive amount of effort to create, write and record…but honestly, Matt makes it sound like he could do this all day, every day…and he truly should be.  “Shade” confirms what you now know from the experience of “Days Past” – that Murphy can effortlessly shift and transition through multiple dimensions of sound while still putting out music that genuinely connects.  The melody and passion you can hear in the mix of “Shade” is audibly tangible…the punch into the energy nearly thirty seconds into the song pushes this second tune into the next-level quickly; the contrast between light & dark, loud & quiet, chilled & aggressive…it all adds up to a completely wild yet balanced listening experience.  Really well mixed and incredibly well played, “Shade” continues to add depth and entertainment to the new In Closing EP.  You can hear that post-rock influence drip beautifully into the middle of this track…the defined separation of this song’s beginning and eventual trek towards the end is a real blissfully sincere moment – and that pay-off with the huge, distorted guitars & bass-rumble amongst the twinkling piano melody and gorgeous lead-guitar notes ringing out…what can I say Matt Murphy?  You’re my new hero!

Every moment this guy has written into these instrumental tunes seems to be just as stunning as the last; like a blend of the best out there like Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You!, Mogwai and bands you’ve seen on our pages like If These Trees Could Talk, In Circles, or Ahimsa.  Matt’s a master of mixing tension and melody together in compelling ways and a serious all-around musician; I wouldn’t change a damn thing about this entire EP and can hear no reason as to why he shouldn’t be right in there with the best of the best when it comes to instrumental music.  Need another reason?  Sure thing – I can give you plenty.  How about the amazing melancholy emotion that’s threaded into the fabric of “If Nothing Changes” and its immaculately isolated beginning?  How about the beautiful melody that’s revealed from there as the sparkling lead-notes sweetly lace the surface of the music?  How about the amazing strings that stunningly fill the atmosphere all of a sudden and then disappear?  How about the JAW-DROPPING transition just past the four-minute mark that takes this song beyond all possible, reasonable expectations?  “If Nothing Changes” makes just as much use of silence in its movements as it does the instruments, leading to a hauntingly melodic atmosphere that sounds absolutely incredible.  That low-end rumble of the bass just past the three-minute mark is insanely awesome and perfectly mixed-in so that we really hear it’s contribution to the song…and then slowly, more elements are added…guitars, lead & rhythm, strings come back in as the song heads into its most powerful & emotion-filled moments throughout its final ninety-seconds.  Good lord…around the 4:20 mark…what is that Matt?  Cello or violin?  Whichever it is…it’s absolutely exquisite and sounds extraordinary every time I hear that moment in time…leading into the stripped-back all-piano ending…again…I think you’ve really gotta admire Matt’s songwriting ability and what he’s created with In Closing; the writing has extraordinary depth and demands and he rises to every occasion and opportunity that presents itself.

After a gripping intro and intense drums pounding to open-up the record’s final tune “The Eleventh Hour,” In Closing ends up finishing this tune strong with perhaps the finest display of chops & musical-prowess on the record so far.  I’m looking at you minutes two-through-four…cause MAN this guy is able to shift sound in so many directions and make it all seem so natural and organic as it flows…it’s just straight-up impressive, there’s no other way to hear it.  “The Eleventh Hour” is also the EP’s longest tune…and Matt’s already shown a tendency to roam through a vast amount of sonic terrain…so you can certainly bank on this cut taking it that much further.  Mid-song, Matt reveals a bit more about his influences as he heads into much more traditional and classic guitar-god/virtuoso territory with tones in his guitar sounding like they could belong to a Vai, Johnson or Satriani.  With the amount of skill he’s put into each and every captivating and energy-charged moment that’s lined the tracks of this EP, I’ve got no doubt that Matt’s just about as well-rounded of a musician as a person can get.  The way this final track dips into rock, metal, pop, classic-instrumental guitar-driven tunes…it’s an all-out smorgasbord of entirely kick-ass ideas and sounds that make for a seriously wild ride in this last tune on the In Closing EP.  Believe me when I say, I’m more than happy with every single song I’ve heard throughout this set of four – there’s not a thing out of place or a stone left unturned; Matt’s explored every opportunity within the music to the fullest, leading us as listeners into imaginative songs that will truly transport you.

Beyond impressed that this all came out of one dude!  Matt Murphy, I said it before and I’ll say it again – you’ve put in a hero’s effort here on this EP…it’s gripping, it’s intense, it’s beautiful – it’s bloody perfect.  For those out there looking for something spectacularly sharp with high-doses of creativity, suspense and tension fused with stunning melody and bold musicianship…you really can’t say no to In Closing.

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