The Birdwatcher

Afternoon Tales the Morning Never Knew

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On Afternoon Tales the Morning Never Knew, jack-of-all-trades Dan "The Birdwatcher" Matz effectively utilizes a shadowy series of soundscapes and minimalist guitars to create a somber, atmospheric collection of songs scattershot with introspective lyrics and subtle melodies. As a vocalist, Matz has little to work with in regard to pitch and range, yet his singing is the glue that holds all the various bits and pieces of what qualifies as an arrangement together. Though this affair is decidedly low-key, Matz plys his sense of humor and sense of irony, especially in the track "Country Music," which pines "country music never lies/It always tells the truth." In similar fashion, "Trouble," with its plodding guitar figure and wobbly harmonica, evokes images of Neil Young & Crazy Horse dipped in molasses. "The Hush" qualifies as the album's only rocker, employing a firm backbeat and a Velvet Underground-meets-the Beatles guitar intro which settles into a groove just as Matz starts to croon over the counterpoint of the staccato rhythm ambient keyboard riffs and orchestral coda. The Birdwatcher is an acquired taste and a taste worth acquiring.

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