Matthew Squires

Already Dead Tapes, 2017


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Matthew Squires is a flourishing young talent from Austin who has been busy since 2012, and he’s released six albums to date. Largely working in the indie pop realm, his most recent work, Tambaleo, reached #40 on the CMJ College Radio Charts and is available physically on, you guessed it, cassette. If you didn't get the memo, tapes are coming back, and this one comes with a download code in case you abandoned your tape deck decades ago. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

At 15 tunes here, it seems to be a lot to digest. But Squires makes good use of brief moments like the ambient layering of “Drone One,” “Drone Two,” and “Drone Three,” all of which are strategically placed with various noises and fleeting sounds. Other quick tunes like “Welcome” are full of quirky pop greatness with heavy emphasis on guitars and percussion, and the two minutes of “Sex & Tragedy” which bridges rock of decades past with today's bedroom pop, is another short flash of fun.

There's no denying that Squires has a knack for interesting wordplay that's poetic and often times insightful, and his warm melodies are certainly nothing to spit at it either. Whether getting a little experimental and artistic with “Shining” or the darker, mysterious “Grace's Drum,” there's always a level of memorableness or unique creativity that's alluring. Though he's often soft and contemplative, songs like “Dead Or Dying” erupt into arena rock loudness, while later tracks like “Bird Song” with the wispy, boyish vocals and '90s influenced indie-sounds is reminiscent of The Promise Ring's last album, Wood/Water.

Squires cites influences such as Woody Allen, The Beatles, and Elliott Smith, while outfits like Modest Mouse or The Get Up Kids when they started listening to Wilco also come to mind. With that said, there's really no way to classify Tambaleo, other than that it's many different versions of pop music. But it’s also about as far away as possible from the trite, uninspired, and stale sounds of today's widely embraced pop.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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