This is one of my favorite albums, but I can't listen to it.
A few years ago, I was going through a personal crisis. It was a difficult time for me, and I was depressed, did not go out much, did not communicate much. Then I discovered Matt Elliott.
Sometimes your emotions, your thoughts, your mood - all have to come together, in some exact moment, in order for you to like the music that you are listening to. This was such a moment for me. I don't know if in any other moment I would feel the same way about this album.
"Howling Songs" is sad, melancholic, dark, disturbing, experimental. Its gloomy sounds, along with Matt's singing, will make for good comapny when you're down. It will make you feel like someone understands you, when no one else does.
"All goes for a reason? Or no?
Please let me know, my fallen friend, I've failed you again, again..."
(From "The Kübler-Ross Model")
Matt has a low, rough voice, he mumbles the lyrics and they're hard to make out; but it fits the music perfectly. He is a skilled guitarist and a skilled soundman, clearly.
The songs are long, they are built on classic, familier rhythms - Spanish guitar and Flamenco, March, Waltz and even Tango - but there is nothing routine about them. They start very minimalistic, just Matt's guitar, sometimes with strings or keys in the background. Sometimes they change their nature or rhythm in the middle. Towards the end, they grow stronger, louder. Matt loops several layers with his guitar, gradually he adds more and more, until it becomes noisy, dirty, distortioned, disharmonic even! They shriek and they scream in chaos, until they overload and blow up.
It's not an easy album to listen to. I won't recommend it to anyone.
I think that it's an absolutely amazing album, it helped me through a rough time, and I am so grateful for it. But the simple truth is, that I can't listen it today, I don't want to. I have moved on, and I just don't... need it, anymore; and I'm grateful for that, too.
So to sum it up... If you're feeling sad, hurting, you might find comfort in this album. If you woke up smiling this morning - I'm happy for you! - but you probably won't like it :)