On his second full length release, Mathew Sweet uses the same formula that he has employed previously; one microphone, one acoustic guitar, a few random instruments, a couple of field recordings, and a deft, understated touch with the mixing process. He locked himself away in his home studio (to be honest, his bedroom) and no one else heard a single note until he was finished.
This album is a further step away from the "folk" label, which never seemed all that appropriate to Mathew's work in any case. If you record solo with an acoustic guitar the description is somewhat inevitable. But the results might more rightly be construed as "acoustic death metal" considering the themes of death, alienation, fear, hatred and isolation that are his forte, as well as his affinity for gothic imagery.
Mathew states that the album was mostly recorded at night because there was less background noise to contend with in his neighborhood at that time of day. But if you listen closely you can still hears small bits of rain hitting the window, and cars sliding by on wet roads.
The final result is one of the most unassuming, and engaging recordings of the year. It is intimate, extremely personal, and spectral in presence.
The second full length release from this uk resident follows his Lion Devours the Sun album from late 2006 on kranky. A lot of artists are described as "outsiders" or "underground", but with Mathew Sweet this is actually an apt description as he belongs to no 'scene' and is working on the farthest fringes of the 'music business'.
press quotes for Lion Devours the Sun:
"Hauntingly beautiful music that is oft mistakenly labeled "folk." This is something darker, something much more sinister, and Mat Sweet's songwriting muse dives into the troubled waters of a tormented soul and the mysterious forests of the mind. This is the best record of the year, period." Mundane Sounds
"The spare use of his blurry instrumentation is the secret ingredient to the horror in these songs. Sweet packs a punch for such a quiet fellow, and his vortex is indeed a powerful one." Tiny Mix Tapes
"...the visions of human frailty channeled here are dry like a mouthful of dust and stirring in their haunted stillness." The Stranger