Matt Hammon – Silver Suitcase
Matt Hammon’s indie rock résumé promises that Silver Suitcase, his solo debut, will be interesting fare, but it far exceeds mere curiosity. The ten songs on Silver Suitcase couple evocative musical arrangements handled by Hammon with powerfully eloquent lyrical content and a wide open vocal delivery that delves deep beneath the skin of each song. His burning intensity that be brings to bear on these performances doesn’t flirt with virtuoso moments, but it instead bleeds passion from every chord and puts itself over with the audience as a raw outpouring without ever surrendering a certain degree of finesse and style. It’s a one man show and he makes it work with a true command of what he wants to say and how to get it over. Silver Suitcase is one of the most compelling indie releases you’ll hear in 2017. Any fan of the guitar will likely find much to love here as well.
It’s obvious he had to do this. The first song, “Pictures”, alone makes it clear that the desire to make his own album with his songs has been burning in him for many years. These are songs jumping out of their skin. “Pictures” maintains a seemingly effortless balance between the rugged guitar workouts around the chorus, the much airier verse passages, and crisp hammer-hard drumming from Hammon that never has a heavy hand, “The Table” amps things up even more with a much more cluttered guitar attack and an arrangement that takes the fore over Hammon’s vocal – not always to the best effect. The balance is restored on the track “Out of Touch” and Hammon really excels here on this mid-tempo rock song with an appealing commercial edge that comes off wholly organic rather than plotted out. It’s the best lyric yet on Silver Suitcase, as well, thanks to its poetic flair and the stunningly personal content.
The title song is a memorable effort and deserves its status as the album’s nominal center piece. There’s a more narrative quality in this lyric that Hammon excels with and his phrasing really does a fine, if understated, job of bringing the lyric to life. It has a different musical quality than much of the album as well – there’s a build to the arrangement that corresponds to the storytelling qualities of the music. “Promise You” is an outright love song, albeit with an adult perspective, and a strong classical build from a muted beginning to a rock, but practically symphonic, close. The album’s final curtain comes with the song “Name Game” and Hammon embraces guitars for a final rock and roll salvo very much in keeping with the anthemic qualities of the album’s earlier rockers. The sustained heat of creativity coming off of this collection will get Matt Hammon’s solo career off to the start it deserves and shows this is a composer with enormous imagination and ambition sure to build on this success with greater moments to come. It’s a nearly flawless and always interesting debut that sounds fresh and like the work of a longtime veteran.