Monday, April 17, 2017

Matthew Logan Vasquez' Sophomore Solo: Mature, Good, But Familiar

Matthew Logan Vasquez - Does What He Wants
Dine Alone Music
- out April 21
3 / 5

Delta Spirit frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez comes upon his second solo LP, the perhaps aptly named Does What He Wants. Up front, we'll tell you: it's not bad, and it's more of the same a la 2016's Solicitor Returns. That is to say, this is a Vasquez comfortable in his own skin, not the wild yells of a Vasquez of early Delta Spirit fame.

But we miss those wild yells, those impassioned pleas stretching, reaching for an imagined musical perfection.

But such is life: we grow old, we mature. And here Vasquez is just that: matured, not straining to impress. "Fatherhood" and the opener "Same," which deals with the age-old dilemma of bills piling up, tell us where Vasquez' mind is these days. But despite having, in a sense, "grown up," both sonically and lyrically, "Old Ways" hearkens back to Delta Spirit's sense of societal aggravation, with an unmistakable chorus: "You and I hate the old ways." It may not be "Streetwalker" off the Spirit's first EP, but it's something that we appreciate hearing all the same.

So why the middling score? Does What He Wants is not a bad album, by any means, but it's not that kind of stride ahead that Solicitor Returns was. We've listened to this album several times, and while a few songs grab us (those aforementioned), we somewhat imagine the whole of this album to drift by in another month. (And yes, "Bound to Her" in our previous album review is still stunning to us.) But it's good, it's another album to look at if you're a fan, though we suspect this album might not jump out enough for the casual listener. Recommended, with the caveat that Vasquez has stronger stuff in his repertoire.

Stream this album on Consequence of Sound for another week or so.

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