Its close to impossible not to enjoy Matt Kjeldsen’s songwriting. Close To Texas introduces this EP in a beautiful way, beginning with a simple acoustic sound and the artist’s voice, soon evolving to be this full and warm country-rock soundscape that consistently drives with heart and peacefulness.
Kjeldsen paints a beautiful picture with his lyricism, and his voice as a means of delivery has a certain relatability about it – a familiar tone, believable and genuine. This opening song has a simple but effective hook that’s easily memorable after hearing it even just once.
I Should Know Me Better Than This By Now follows on with a uniquely reflective concept that strangely many of us will likely to relate to. The song has a slightly pop-rock vibe, the set-up is nostalgic and reminiscent of hits from a simpler decade. The rhyme scheme adds further to this, and the build-up again showcases a warm and honest approach to songwriting. Once more, the simple touch works best – the songwriting is memorable in a subtle, enjoyable way. The instrumentation is everything it needs to be – organic and equally real, warm and comforting to have fill the room.
Last Days as a title track is perhaps one of the most emotionally poignant songs on this project. The ambiance has notable levels of intricate detail, crafting a journey before you that’s not solely guided by the lyrics. There’s story telling and poetic beauty here, combined with personal depth and consideration. It’s a spacious but increasingly powerful piece of music and writing, the language and the gentle increase in musical intensity crafts something striking and quite heart-breaking around you. The second time you hear this you’re almost certain to see its value and its rightful place as the stand-out single from the EP. Having said that though, What Once Was follows on in a stunning way and is easily worth three or four listens in a row.
What Once Was sees Kjeldsen adopt a slightly more Leonard Cohen-like vocal style, whispered and dark – lightly intense alongside of a spacious and gorgeously expressive, guitar-led soundscape. The details paint something unexpected, not so organic but poignant and mighty in a whole other way. The short lines descend in melody and the music fills in the gaps. It’s very easy to lose yourself in this moment, in the music, the whispers, and the ideas presented. As described within – We are all a part of it… The song grows faster and fuller towards the end and the spaces are filled beautifully with this powerful sense of possibility and strength. A magnificent song and a definite personal highlight – from this whole year in fact, not just from this artist.
Things come to a close with the slightly more rhythmic and Americana-inspired Ghosts and Shadows. It’s another great song, set-up so thoughtfully – the added vocals at the end of each phrase offer definite impact. The poetic observations again hold tight to your attention and keep you compelled throughout. The song has a classic feel, cool and clever – both musically and in terms of the way it expresses the ideas within. A superb way to finish and another absolute highlight. If anything, the EP rises higher and higher with each new song it presents. Matt Kjeldsen is a songwriter well worth paying attention to.