Matt Searles - Disconcertion

TC 18/07/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

Matt Searles is front man in Croydon band Kobayashi of whom I confess I know nothing! However, I suspect that this solo offering is somewhat different to what the band's fans may be used to hearing.
Disconcertion is a desolate, stripped-down set of songs that you sense are so personal that just listening feels like an imposition on the man's private grief. He sings with a blistered soul for sure and a deeply expressive vocal style that delivers painful conviction throughout.
The musical backdrop is essentially him on piano but with the occasional infusion of electronica or sporadic drum beats. This does leave the arrangements a little bare at times and, although his vocals are very strong, you find yourself craving for an injection of pace occasionally.
The set opens with Blind Spot, which is a solid emotive piece that is only spoilt by the arrival of processed dance beats midway, although it does find its way back before the close. Function Creep sets off a la Mike Oldfield but then gets reigned back in by Searles' fragile vocals. There is evident pain not only in the music but the lyrics; “I think I'm coming out the other side, don't know how I think I'll just survive”. Then on Push the repetition of “That's why I push the poison in” which may be in relation to Searles' day job of paramedic but probably more like something more sinister. On this song plus Faint Star the vocals get gruffed up and comparisons with Tom Waits become valid, but as a whole the man has his own vocal identity and a strong one it is too.
The final track is a tremendous rendition of Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice and it is here that the depth of that vocal ability comes through. He won't be the first to take a Dylan song and make it sound better, but this powerful rendition takes the song to new heights and depths and is a very fitting close to the set.
If fourteen tracks clocking in at 65 minutes wasn't value enough for money, then Matt is giving the whole thing away for NO money! It can be downloaded in full from his website and I recommend you do just that.