Matthew Connor is by no means new to music, however he waited until late last year to release his debut album, Farewell Motel. Before this venture, he has had two successful EPs, Ghost Town and Denouncement, and had been the frontman to a band called Provocateur.
Connor’s music is dark and intriguing, striking the listener with these hints of subtlety. His voice seems exaggeratedly haunted, but I really can’t think of a better voice for track like ‘Midnight Blue’. Whoever blended this track deserves full credit, as well – it has a lot of different layers, but it knows what it wants to be and Connor’s voice knows just where to take it.
The style is somewhat consistent through ‘Somewhere Down There’ and ‘How is July Already Over?’, but it doesn’t sound like the same song over and over again – there’s clear variety with this artist’s very pointed style.
There are three very strong suits that support this album: the track editing, the voice, and the lyrics. It’s all so comfortingly creepy, and this man is very eerily charming. His voice seduces with its vast range and the lyrics are interesting as quotes or soundbites (like “And you say ‘My heart can be so so cold sometimes,’ and I say, ‘Tell me something I don’t know.’”) though the content of the music itself is not exactly nuanced or anything.
I don’t know how else to describe that fluid style. It’s smoke, really. It’s all at once smoke, quicksilver, and darkness. Tracks like ‘Money Goes’, ‘Smoke Signals’, and ‘Limestone and Yew’ are underwhelming in comparison to that first track, but there’s something faintly erotic about them all the same. I realize that the tracks I’m less impressed by are the ones that use real instruments, which is odd. I think perhaps his voice just works best with pure synthesis.
We kick back to the unique and the downright strange with this album’s namesake song: ‘Farewell Motel’. What I love about this song is that it’s a swaying macabre dance, it’s really something you’ve got to hear for yourself – don’t just read, listen! And it’s so perfectly placed; not at the beginning where it jumps the gun but not quite at the end when it becomes too anticipated. It’s just the perfect bridge between less interesting songs and the cognitive pick-me-ups to enjoy the rest of the album.
The collaboration track is striking and I’m surprised that Connor hasn’t tried it more often. The addition of a sweetly soft female voice makes for the perfect contrast to his baritone cabaret like inflections in ‘Paper Trail’.
The final tracks come and go like a lullaby, making for a very sleepy end of the album, which seems appropriate for Matthew Connor. There is still some dormant sense of epic-ness hidden through the sways of the verses. Otherwise, it’s largely lounge from here on out. Good night.
While classic looks good on him, I prefer his electronic tracks more for what they decide to experiment with. Check out this seductive new experience on his BandCamp page and be sure to check out his website for more information.