Matthew Browning releases debut LP
Matthew Browning might not be a name that you’re very familiar with at the moment, but if you’re a music fan who stays on top of what indie music and college radio have in steady rotation, that just might change this summer. Browning’s virgin release Love & Grief hit record stores, online vendors and streaming sites back in May, and it’s been on an absolute runaway train ever since, igniting excitement for critics, audiences and virtually everyone in the music industry. It’s no wonder why – in Love & Grief, Browning doesn’t just lay down purposeful pop classics, he becomes a madman behind the soundboard and crafts music that is as thought-provoking as it is catchy.
One of the first singles from Love & Grief is “I Walked Over the Edge,” which takes us twisting and turning through the emotional chaos that Browning is struggling to survive amongst, and while it jars our sense of reality like a powerful psychedelic drug, it nevertheless leaves us feeling contemplative about our own choices in love and life. In a lot of ways, when I listen to Matthew Browning’s music I feel like I’m listening to someone thinking aloud and asking my opinions, but in others I feel like he’s eulogizing the mistakes of someone else and trying to learn from them himself.
The other hit single from Love & Grief is “Underneath the Willow Tree,” which disguises itself from the get-go as a modest pop ballad before inevitably saturating us in a glistening pop tonality and a harmonious mixture of electronica and new age soul. If my descriptions suggest that there’s quite a bit of experimentation embedded in Browning’s work, then I’m on the right track. There’s an immersive wall of sound that follows you around in “Underneath the Willow Tree” and I guarantee that if you listen closely enough you too will become lost in its audiological gaze.
Love & Grief, in general, is a pretty spacious, sprawling record, but it isn’t an intimidating avant-garde album or a pseudo-left of the dial reprint from the 1980s (something I’m encountering way too much of lately). Matthew Browning is very skilled, beyond his years in fact, at bringing a broad range of influences together to make something that is unlike what anyone else is doing at the moment, but he doesn’t seem to have a big ego about it. Big egos are what kill rock stars. Inventiveness of this caliber is what makes them transcendent.
Matthew Browning could be the future of pop music. He could be the biggest selling indie rocker of the next decade. He could end up influencing a generation of young musicians. Or he could even just hang it up now and never release a follow-up to Love & Grief. That’s really the point; at this stage of the game, anything and everything is possible for Matthew Browning, and as long as he stays committed to what he has started with these infectiously awesome songs, his legacy as one of the best of his time is certain to stand the test of time.