I often feel a bit of a fraud as a Brit reviewing music that comes from a very American place. Am I equipped to understand all the nuances can I empathise with its narrative and imagery? Well, maybe it comes down to taking a much more honest approach, a simpler consideration. I know what I like and I like Dreamland.
From the titular opening salvo you realise that although the bones of the music is very much the stuff of Americana, alt-country and heartland rock, all very broad and often ill-defined labels, it is the flesh that is found covering it where the beauty lies. It’s obvious really. And there is real beauty here, restrained and delicate at times, cinematic and proudly worn at others.
And for all the anthemic qualities of the likes of Broken Hearts and Broken Bones, it is in the widescreen colours that paint Dreamland, the quiet atmospherics of Dandelion and the reflective travelogue of Banks of The Mississippi that appeal most to my soul.
Much music seems to be painted with dramatic hues, with contrasting and bright slashes of paint but for the most part Matt is a watercolour artist, a minimal one at that. The way that a great painter can use the bare minimum of pastel splashes to form an image as much from what is left bare as from what is put to the paper reflects the way that Dreamlands best songs seem to just frame an idea, an atmosphere or an emotion. And that is a real skill.
Did I say I like Dreamland? That is just my British reserve playing its hand. I love Dreamland.