Wrist Slitter sounds like an album after my own heart. Depressing, murky, introverted singer-songwriter, screaming about the pain of life. Maybe this album was written and recorded in the darkest hours of the night right before Pryor committed seppuku as the clock struck 4:48. A quick scan of the internet reveals that Matt Pryor is indeed alive,’ Ah well’ I thought I suppose I can have to forego my rule of only listening to deceased artist a miss just this once.
What came out my speakers was not what I expected. It wasn’t ‘heavy’, it wasn’t ‘unrelenting’. It was almost cheerful, bouncy even.
In just a few short years, former lead singer of The Get Up Kids, Pryor has released a slew of albums. One of which was funded by a successful kick-starter campaign. His sound has progressed from early incarnations of ska and punk to a more refined and populist rock sound. Opening track ‘The House Hears Everything’ reminded me of Elvis Costello & The Attractions and their most danceable, whilst also bringing in elements of McFly and Sum 41.
There is some of that early ska influence in the background but this is a rock album through and through. In fact there’s a whole host of different styles going on. The title track is a short sharp, bluegrass tune. Follow up track ‘Words Get in the Way’ is a straight up radio-friendly rock tune. ‘Before My Tongue Becomes a Sword’ starts off folky before becoming an 80s style anthem. ‘If I Wear a Disguise’ sounds like it could have easily been recorded by The Hold Steady. It makes for an enjoyable and yes surprisingly happy sounding collection of songs. As with most rock albums there’s talk of heartache and relationships but no more than normal. A couple of tracks verge on the middle of the road; ‘Foolish Kids’ and ‘Say What You’re Gonna Say’ sound ready for Steve Wright in the Afternoon. If you’re unfamiliar with Matt Pryor don’t pick this up expecting Nick Cave-eqsue darkness. It will be a good choice for next spring/summer to play in your Ford Escort with the windows down, driving past the fields and cows.
Now I need to get my fix of insipid darkness. I’m going to listen to Suicide’s ‘Frankie Teardrop’ on a 6 hour loop.
A limited edition Blue Marble vinyl of the album has been released, that sounds pretty.