Matthew Morgan – Empathy For Inanimate Objects – EP Review
Oddly enough, Matthew Morgan and I have something strange in common! My brother’s name is actually Mathew Morgan as well – just one less T…how bizarre is that? So, completely due to his gentle approach and a melodic acoustic pop/folk sound, I hereby dub the new Matthew Morgan my official brother-from-another-musical-mother.
Over the course of Empathy For Inanimate Objects he brings a modern indie-element into a blend of classic folk-rock sounds and lyrics that really paint the picture in full. I read somewhere on Matthew’s official site somewhere that this new EP contains similarities to the ‘happier moments of Elliot Smith…’ – I was shocked to find that statement could even be found in plural! Believe me, I can hear the similarities…but not so much from the one, or half-of-one song that Smith wrote in a blissfully happy state of mind; no – it’s much more from the sincerity and tone, genuine passion and emotion that Morgan puts into his music. I’d also add his storytelling ability; lyrically this is definitely a writer that connects strongly to his words and from his words to his music. And from his music…to guys like me and potentially people like YOU.
The guitar work in “Songs Like These” throughout the opening especially, but the song to follow as well, is beautiful. Melody is prevalent…honest sounding…genuine. Almost with a Neil Young vibe or perhaps Band Of Horses, Morgan sings sweetly overtop of a truly atmospheric beginning to Empathy For Inanimate Objects. It’s a melancholy opening for sure, which is always a bit of a chance to take in my personal opinion…some people find it tough to find room for sounds like this on their energetic and ‘great hair days.’
But if you’re anything at all like me, maybe you just have ‘hair days’ and there’s nothing great about them aside from food never actually making it all the way to the floor. Music doesn’t always need to put us on the dance floor, or make you jump into the mosh pit…sometimes it’s just time to chill out, reflect & let the emotions out. “Songs Like These” makes a perfect excuse for one to do so – and Morgan’s hauntingly melodic atmosphere takes you away into the mist of melancholy completely veiling the sun from even coming up.
And again…I do think it’s a slight gamble when you consider the invitational nature of “Hold On I’m Comin,” the neighbouring track to follow. I mean…it’s so close to being the first song as it is! It’s right on the doorstep! But for some, it truly might be too far away…we’re a fickle bunch us human beings…we judge quickly; if people convince themselves off the opening tune that’s the tempo, style & sound they’ll be in for…there is a chance they might not make it to the bright energy of “Hold On I’m Comin.” It’s a sonic smorgasbord of harmonies and tight song-writing and I think that this might have worked slightly better as an opening track to Empathy For Inanimate Objects…might just be me!
But I suppose that’s where I come in…I’m the guy to tell you to hang on through the haze of the opening tune (which I like for the record) and allow this EP to seep in with its clever changes in atmosphere, texture and style. “SticksNStones” drifts back towards the isolated feeling of the opening tune and reveals that Nick Drake-meets-Neil Young type of song-writing and delivery; a little Young in the verse, a little Drake in the chorus…it’s a great blend of sound and melody…excellent chanting chorus that’s catchy and certainly something you start to sing along with quickly.
I was supremely impressed with “First Day.” It’s another song I think might have worked well as an opener to the EP, but aside from that it’s also an exceptionally beautiful song. Innovative ideas here…I’m thinking something like, plucked mandolin…strings or violin…gentle acoustic guitar…hint of piano…mild percussion to tie it all in together…and gorgeous, haunting vocals that leave a memorable impression. The subtle rhythm in the music is genius…sparkling bass really brings this song out in full as Morgan sings with fragile confidence and tells a vivid tale of struggle, loss, love & rebuilding. The backing vocals are completely perfect in their compliment to the main…”First Day” is a tune with a real uniqueness and beauty…highly memorable indeed.
“Lost At Sea” actually reminds me a lot of one of my favourite bands that I never mention much…Toad The Wet Sprocket. Something about the acoustic nature, the sing-along factor and the absolutely brilliant emotion in the lyrics all remind me of that sweet-natured pop/rock band. I never really understood how music that sounds as genuine as they made flew so far under the radar…but perhaps we live in a different time now; a time that is ready for change and one that certainly embraces folk-music heroes tightly. “Lost At Sea,” for all its isolated feelings & mood…really has that feeling of change through unity and togetherness…authentic hope through the lyrics and music that you can feel course through the blood in your veins. Matthew Morgan has a real shot at acceptance in today’s day & age – it’s the right time for him and for this exact style & sound you find in “Lost At Sea.”
“When You’re G…
Hold on fiddle player. You don’t think I’d let you get away without mentioning the incredible job done on “Lost At Sea” do you? That’s a ‘single-this-dude-out’ moment if I’ve ever heard one – immaculate playing, fantastically dynamic parts that are played with a professional precision. Matthew – if that’s you – that’s another incredible talent you have; if it’s not – go out and high-five that incredible guest star…that’s a highlight performance on this EP for sure.
Okay…now where was I? Right!
“When You’re Gone” is about as intense as you can get emotionally on a song as slow & subtle as this. The guitar in this song is incredibly gorgeous and angelic…the vocals and composition come out closer to something like Jose Gonzales…who wouldn’t want that? It makes for a great exit out of the EP and final closing to the album…there’s a real finality through the emotion, lyrics and performance of “When You’re Gone.” Matthew Morgan has proven to be a real song-writer of high-caliber throughout Empathy For Inanimate Objects…I think there’s a real potential here for a break through artist in the folk-acoustic genres. Get this guy a couple more solo albums under his belt and I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from Morgan on the regular; he’s a wonderfully authentic artist with real heart & real emotion that bleeds sweetly into his melancholy melodies.
Find out more about him from Matthew Morgan’s official page at: http://www.matthewmorganmusic.com
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