Matt Duncan – “Chutes and Ladders” + “The Jordan of Strange”

a4276320971_10Intergalactic Soul

Self-Released January and February 2016

It’s time to check in with the last couple songs from Matt Duncan’s now-monthly free song project.

“Chutes and Ladders” – Not many musicians would be able to incorporate the sound of a harpsichord into a pop song quite as effectively as Matt has with this one. “Chutes and Ladders” is propelled through its verses by a steadily pumping bass, swelling horns, and rolled harpsichord chords. By the time the chorus comes around, it’s more a bouncing arpeggiated sound from things, even with tuned drums outlining the chords – Matt accompanies himself here, singing the main chorus in an impressive falsetto and the backgrounds several octaves below it. It’s a tough song to unpack the lyrics on, but it’s terribly, infectiously catchy.

“The Jordan of Strange” – This song is marked with the note “It probably goes without saying, but this one goes out to Ziggy.”  It’s a song that seems clearly influenced by Duncan’s recent time spent in on Broadway as a part of the on-stage band in the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “The Jordan of Strange” is bold and big throughout, perhaps most of all towards the end as Matt sequences the chorus of “there’s so much more” up and up and up before resolving it with a resolute “to do!” It’s definitely recognizable as a Matt Duncan track, but it seems like there’s been a distinct, gradual, purposeful evolution into this from the “AM radio soul” sounds of Soft Times and Beacon. 

Two more great songs here from from Matt Duncan – it all makes me wonder what he’s got in store for his mentioned full-length LP. He’s made some changes to his sound, but if these aren’t the songs he’s holding onto for an upcoming album, it’s tough to know what to expect. Either way, we’ve been treated to some really good stuff these last several months.

Ben Southworth – February 7th, 2016 – Kenwick Place

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