I think I knew I had heard this voice before the first track was even over. A bit of disc investigation revealed I was right… the creative persona behind My Silent Bravery is in fact, singer/songwriter Matthew Wade. The unmistakable voice that is one part Elvis Costello, another part Lenny Kravitz was the subject of a Skope feature I did a few years back for his then album, Uncharted Territory. Now back with a new creative outlet the first thing to say in comparison is this collection of 10-tracks sounds fuller than the prior.[youtube 4KGZVPqS67Q nolink]
The album opens to wah pedal guitar in 70s funk fashion on “Four Years.” Wade’s trademark crooning clever lyrics fits nicely laid over the melody, tight technical guitar work and backing Wurlitzer piano. On the whole the track sounds like it could have been a Steely Dan B-side. “Alright” opens with riff work that is a clear nod to Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” But the shout outs don’t stop there, with mentions of Bob Marley, Eddie Vedder and the Grateful Dead. Again, the hallmark of the track is clever lyrics but that’s really nothing new to Shwachman. Also noteworthy is the midpoint that allows the aforementioned Wurlitzer to shine where a guitar solo would typically be. Title track “Can’t Quit” features opening synth work the likes of “Let My Love Open the Door” but reveals a down-tempo tune of contemplative lyrics and Wade’s vocal delivery standing at the foreground. The track ethos is one of personal introspection. Rounding out the album is the hopeful and responsibility-invoking “To Give Featuring Matisyahu.” The track flows through the groovy melody with thinking man’s lyrics and that catchy “thing” that Matisyahu brings to his songs.
With his identity revealed, My Silent Bravery is naturally Matthew Wade–emotive lyrical matter, a solid vocal delivery and the pop songwriting that has always served him well. Again, with the full backing band behind him, this elevates his songs to a new level and generates a full aural experience that does the tracks due justice. Two offerings are repeats in acoustic form and while the acoustic version of “Burnt Out” is really good (vocals, strings and guitar only) I would have rather him eschew the repeats and filled those spaces with two more Wade songs. That being said, if that is the only non-flattering aspect of the album well, that rather speaks for itself now doesn’t it?
by Chris West[Rating: 3.5/5]