Matt Pryor

Wrist Slitter

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Get Up Kids and New Amsterdams mastermind Matt Pryor has been tunneling himself out of dark places, both figuratively and literally, for the majority of his 17-year career, so it should come as no surprise that his third long-player is called Wrist Slitter. In less talented hands, such a half-assed cry for help of a title might elicit howls of mascara-smeared laughter, but Pryor's take on post-emo-folk-punk is steeped as much in the heartland rage of Against Me! and Frank Turner as it is the cruel existential despondency of Sunny Day Real Estate. Recorded with New Amsterdams drummer Bill Belzer and guitarist Eric McCann, Pryor, for the most part, has eschewed the largely solo acoustic, confessional singer/songwriter vibe of albums past for an aesthetic closer to the nervy, sweaty, yet ultimately tuneful attack of his meal-ticket band. That's not to say that he's abandoned the bedroom confessional altogether, as evidenced by more muted offerings like "As Perfect as We'll Ever Be," which, despite its opening line ("Alone in my head, because there's no one around/one step away from the brink"), is actually a very moving and thoughtful love song, but the bulk of Wrist Slitter is spent assessing, through the primal scream that is rock & roll, the damage of a life lived on or near the emotional edge, with highlights arriving via the fiery "Won't Speak to Me," the pitch-perfect single "Kinda Go to Pieces," and the banjo-and-cello-led, gospel-tinged title cut.

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