Year of the Album — #076
Matt Lowell – “Drop Your Guns EP” (2011, BNS Records)
Matt Lowell earned my listens immediately with the Peter Gabriel-esque opener “Calling,” which would have seemed right at home alongside songs like “Games Without Frontiers” in the early 80s. What stands out the most about Drop Your Guns is that Lowell seems perfectly unafraid even as he subverts what we initially expect from his blend of electronic experimentation and alt-pop confections. Fans of Coldplay and Radiohead will appreciate what he’s doing the most, but I’d imagine it’ll be hard to find any fan of adventurous pop arrangements who can’t find something to praise in the chaotic, Massive Attack inspired stunner “Taking On Water.” And “Better Alone” closes out the EP with piano and vocals, showing he’s equally capable of stripping a song down to its basics. The vocals on this one put Thom Yorke to shame, and left this listener breathless for a repeat performance. Drop Your Guns features 15 minutes you won’t soon be able to get out of your head, making this one of the strongest EPs to come out this year. Here’s hoping it’s only a sample of greatness yet to come.