Matt Kivel, “Days of Being Wild”

Matt-Kivel_Days-Of-Being-WildMatt Kivel
Days of Being Wild
WOODSIST
5/10

On Days of Being Wild, Matt Kivel (Princeton, Gap Dream) sounds like he’s sitting right next to you. Take opener “The First Time,” a finger-picked lullaby with a whispered croon so frail that it reaches Elliott Smith–levels of intimacy. Even on full-band songs like “Underwater” and “Insignificance,” the melancholy of Kivel’s understated falsetto gives the listener the impression of staring someone dead in the eyes. Sentiments aside, Days is an artifact of good songwriting. The melody of the title track’s chorus is as effortless and breezy as a late ’80s pop hit. “Open Road,” which may be the album’s biggest declaration of sound, has Kivel dropping from falsetto into his lower register for a driving, sing-along chorus with thumping drums, and a warbling organ. The album’s emotional directness may be taxing for some, but this is essentially a summer road trip record. Roll down the windows and have a good cry.

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