Really enjoying this one--it's definitely surpassing my expectations! The notion of a "back to basics"-type record after the brilliant LoES... I dunno, I just thought he knocked that one so far out of the park that to continue down any other path would be a disservice to what, IMO, that record achieved :dg:
Of course then I actually listened to the latest record, and, as usual w/ Matthew Good, it surprised me in familiar ways--I've noticed that, w/ Good's solo outings at least, there's always some apprehension, as a fan, of where Good is going musically.
"What?? No more Matthew Good Band?? Going solo?! Just go and "hug it out, bitch" w/ the guitar player so I won't be disappointed with whatever you're puttin' out..."
Of course, Avalanche comes out, and I think it's one of the greatest things I've ever heard.
"What?? An ACOUSTIC album?! But that's not your thing--you're a rock guy. Just pick up the electric guitar so I won't be bored to tears. Pretty pleeeaaaaase??"
And then I listen to Hospital Music, and it's just one of those records that I'll always remember--you know the ones that come out at just the right time, and you can sorta shape the melodies around what you're going through (even moreso than with most of your favorite songs); it's easily one of my favorite records.
"C'mon, Matt, don't go there--there's a lot to be said for just crafting a strong melody! The music will just be way too cerebral and completely lacking in the visceral. I lost Radiohead earlier this year; I swear I won't be able to take it if I lose you, too!"
And of course Lights of Endangered Species turns out to be, IMO, the closest thing Matthew Good has come to crafting the perfect album.
"Alright, alright, so you're just gonna drop the brilliantly beautiful experimentation you achieved w/ LoES and instead focus your musical prowess on crafting... a rock album, one that is deliberately stripped of innovation and made to sound like a relic from the early '90s." And, obviously, I'm lovin' the hell out of Arrows of Desire (for the time being, I've changed my homepage to one of the sites streaming the record).
But my reaction is still a bit different this time--there seems to've been a kind of pattern with Good's records in the past, where I'll be just absolutely floored by one album, and then have a somewhat tepid response to the followup (these 2 being "WLR&RR" and "Vancouver"). So while I enjoyed "Had it Coming" and "We're Long Gone" when I first head 'em, they didn't do much for me. But after hearing the album as a whole, they're clearly integral to the overall feel of the record (though, to be fair, most of Good's albums have a cohesive thread to them). I'm really kind of shocked, honestly, by how much I'm enjoying this somewhat brief collection of songs, and perhaps even more impressed that, by the time "Letters in Wartime" comes to an end, a simple imitation of this period of music that had a tremendous influence on Good could evoke such an enthusiastic appreciation for that music from me.
oh and also here are my song rankings XD
10. So Close
09. We're Long Gone
08. Had It Coming
07. Guns of Carolina
06. Hey Hell Heaven
05. Arrows of Desire
03. Letters in Wartime
02. Via Dolorosa
01. Garden of Knives