The words "Handsome bastard" are thrown around a lot these days. But Matt Scott is releasing his latest single "Kicking Leaves" on the 30th of November and it's only fair he should be recognised for what he is. So 'mon in and sit with me, let me tell you all about a brand new single from Matt Scott. A musician, a story teller, and a downright handsome bastard.
The last time I wrote about Matt it was to review his last single (it's on the NHC site if you haven't read it already). From that single I concluded that the man in question was upto something a wee bit different. Different, but absolutely still enjoyable. "Kicking Leaves" from the start seemed to be no different. In that it is different. Rather than a count in, or an abrupt drum hit, this track gently rumbles into your lugs when you hit the play button. The drums are thumping away and the bass is playing the same rhythm on a big low note. The guitar joins in with this but it doesn't stay. It breathes in and out around them. For all it's a very simple thing it doesn't feel that way at first. Instead it's quite natural and it gives the vocals a great platform when Matt pipes up. His voice on this track is more typical of his style than it was on the last track I reviewed. It's in a familiar register and has a touch of that famous "gravel" in is voice that might be more fitting of the killie humidor than the Killie Troubadour. Despite that it's not harsh. Not by any stretch, this is a very mellow tune with a warm tone to the vocals.
The post verse sections, these are new to his sound. Rather than a harmonica or a picked acoustic guitar there is a lead section played by an electric guitar which is positively dripping in echo and delay. It's a bit of a surprise, aye, but it does slot itself in very well over the space created between instruments in the verse. I can't help but pick out the bassline in this section too. It's bouncing back and forward between notes, providing a needed sense of movement in quite a minimalist piece.
Minimalist is the right word to use here. You see even though this is a five minute track, there are only two "sections" or "parts" to it. Really only verses and the instrumental section highlighted with that indie-esque guitar playing. Now, granted, some may roll their eyes at the idea of a five minute track that under used it's chords and solos budget. I would ask them to stick with this though as no repetition of the sections are exactly the same. Under the verse vocals we get wee echoed guitar flourishes and even noises. Noises created from scratching or hitting the guitar strings that have been played with great feel and recorded into the track too. They really lift the tune, and because of the relative sparsity they stand out and are very effective. Christ, here we are with a Matt Scott track and I'm all "Minimalist" and "noise music" as if he's one of those bastarding 20th century experimental a-tonal post impressionist boyos...pricks.
Just as with the previous single, Matt plays most of the instruments on the recording with his brother John on one of the lead guitars. In that track it was like the two were playing parts that duelled with each other like they were in a good old fashioned brotherly punch up. This time round it's not quite the same. The parts being played seem more aware of the other. They seem to work together and there's definitely no point at which it seems one is trying to outdo the other either. Father Scott will be very proud.
Oor Matt isn't limited to his ability as a musician either I really enjoyed the lyrics to this tune. They express a small amount of regret and more so disappointment. A bit of a lament about the way people tend to change. Or sometimes don't change when maybe it'd be better if they did. However I can't pick out just one line to highlight. Like I said there's no chorus, there's no lyrical hook that live audiences can belt out. The titular pass time of "Kicking Leaves" do turn up in one of the verses but it's hard to point it out as being more important than any of the other lyrics. Very appropriate to the overall tone that the track has.
Ultimately this is something new and a bit unexpected from Matt. And who's to say if that's good or bad? I am, it's my review. And I'm saying it's very good. When the Matt Scott band hit the stage I'd like to hear it. See what Matt and John can do with only two sections and a few other cracking musicians. Come the 30th of November the track will be released on what I'm assured are all the usual platforms. So keep an ear open and enjoy "Kicking Leaves" until his next release.