Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reviews:: Lorrie Matheson In Vein

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* This review originally ran back in June, but the new release from Alberta's Lorrie Matheson - In Vein - was held up in red tape for months. Well, a release date has been set (Feb. 24th/09) so I thought, what better way to get the word out than to re-post a review from almost 8 months ago.

"I know the first five drinks they weren't free, but god damn they sure made me feel that way."

Really, that gripping, desperate lyric from Lorrie Matheson's This Beautiful Bottle should be enough for any Canadiana fan. It reeks of solitude, depression and is exactly what root music thrives on: a story about a broken down man, left with nothing but the bottle and the false friendship of the man pouring the drinks.

But Matheson is more than a roots artist, as he refuses to walk along the same old, dusty path. The Calgary-based artist is fixing to release his new record - In Vein - and it's a diverse listening experience. Sure, he can write a confessional like Falling Down Sober and make you feel a pang of sympathy for a man who just can't get passed his demons, even when he's trying his hardest to move on, but this record has a lot more wrinkles than you'd expect.

The record opens with the vocal distortion of A Hollow Wind, but the track quickly shifts into a reggae tinged, horn laced stomp. The piano bounces along, keeping time with the drums and leaves the rest to Matheson's vocals. Another Seven Minutes (Shot to Hell) follows the same pattern, as Matheson draws your ear with an ironic, almost uplifting breeze and a nice Avett Brother-ish section to freshen up the dark subject matter of song.

That's why this record is so engaging. He's able to change pace with countless styles that still manage to fit together like a coat of many colors. Whether it's a classic singer songwriter piano epic like Down On the Main (even though he adds some terrific horn work at the end of the track), a folky, back porch ditty like Blues From The Register Side, a spare, electro effort like Gone or simply adding some computer blips and bleeps to down and out anthem like You Can Curse the Dark, Matheson makes you want to keep listening. It's an amazing talent to make your voice be heard when it rarely creeps above a whisper, but one Lorrie has in spades.

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Posted at 8:41 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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