Matthew Good - Arrows Of Desire - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Matthew Good - Arrows Of Desire

by James Weiskittel Rating:9 Release Date:2013-09-30

Matthew Good is not a new arrival to the world of rock 'n' roll - he's been making records for over 20 years now. But while each and every album has explored its own unique sonic territory, none of them have contained the potent immediacy that characterizes his latest offering, Arrows of Desire. Where the lush orchestration and subtle nuance that permeated Good's previous album, Lights of Endangered Species, felt like a spiritual rebirth of sorts, the 10 songs that comprise Arrows feel like a sobering recoil, the type of sudden left-turn that longtime listeners have come to appreciate and expect.

Earlier this year, Good found himself at home and decompressing from the drawn-out touring that supported Lights. Good has stated that during this time he found himself turning to playlists of old standards, with artists like Pixies and The Afghan Whigs providing a jumping off point for inspiration. From the moment that Good penned the first notes of what would ultimately become 'Via Dolorosa', he knew that this record was simply going to rock.

The album opens with a shifting guitar-line that quickly cascades into a forceful groove, serving as the perfect foundation for Good's familiar yet shaky vibrato to deliver the album's opening line: "On a ruined wind to see our promise right in front of you". Lyrics have never been an afterthought where Matthew Good records are concerned, his songs typically finding themselves steeped in dense sets of prose on which he gracefully tackles both personal and global topics with an equally disarming sense of sincerity, and Arrows finds the man at the top of his proverbial game.

"Here's my golden spear/ Here's my cold despair," Good exclaims as the title song builds to its climax before he finally utters the ominous lament: "Up in this air/ we lie in wait." By the time the third track, (and the album's first single), 'Had It Coming' arrives, it is obvious that Arrows is in no way going to be an acoustic record.

Patience is generously rewarded by the time the album's centerpiece, 'Garden of Knives', starts playing, with Good appropriately singing "My love screams...Yeah, I like the second half", leading us into what may prove to be the most potent and engaging salvo of songs of his entire career. By the time Good delivers the final exhale of "It's the only way that I talk/ and you've always know that it was/ It's the only way I can tell you/ like letters in wartime do" on the album's closing track, 'Letters in Wartime', it is clear that the 'settling down' in recent years has not watered down any of Matthew Good's artistic vision, but rather distilled it into a more focused and refined narrative.

And even with all of that aside, Matthew Good's Arrows of Desire simply rocks.

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