Artist: Matt Elliott
Title: “The Broken Man”
“This is how it feels to be alone,” sings British singer/songwriter Matt Elliott, a line that sums up “The Broken Man.”
Hurt and heartbreak hang in the air throughout the record, which hurls three nine-minute-plus efforts at the listener, including a nearly 12-minute opening track, “Oh How We Fell.”
Clearly there’s smarts here, but the songs are so bulky and disjointed that it’s hard to wrestle them to the ground. “Dust Flesh and Bones” could have easily been carved into two tracks and it’s unclear why they’re grouped together.
“If Anyone Tells Me ‘It’s Better to Have Loved and Lost Than to Have Never Loved at All,’ I Will Stab Them in the Face” is the most audacious of all, a 13-minute ball of anger and pain that feels more like a warm-up for a recital than a fully formed song.
Elliott uses hints of flamenco guitar, a clever subversion of what is traditionally thought of as a joyous sound.
Though ambitious, it’s unfocused. Elliott’s hurt is unquestionable, but his musical goals are unclear in many passages.
Where others may find a bittersweet beauty, I see Elliott grasping to express himself.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.