The first listen I wasn't so sure - but I had the same feeling with Something Like a Storm - so I kept listening and it grew on me as well.
I agree that this is a front to back listen so making the time for it makes me disagree with those saying this is not Matt. It's heavy, uplifting, hopeful, sad, perplexing and enlightening with musical accompaniment that rests in your heart. The sequence/story 1-4 and 11-15 is more clear to me than the middle. But Your Rainy Sound is significant. This song, I love. And my initial thoughts were at first, is this unfinished (death is a blanket and sometimes you fold it; significant meaning but where is the rest of it)? But what are "my" expectations of a finished song? A painter once told me sometimes his work isn't "finished" because it is already what it is meant to be. Now the song rests with me where it is and where it must have been meant to be.
Ok for my favourite songs - Thousand Tons, Thorn Bird, Your Rainy Sound, and Parts. (and of course also One of Them Years, Sicily, Selling You My Heart, Momentary Truth, Heights) (Ok I see I just listed half the album )
The cynicism is still there. Just with less anger as before (imo)
Thanks for giving us this Matt.
Looking forward to the concert. Right in front of me.