Matt Swift’s new EP Lesson Over announces its arrival like an acoustic Muse and says goodbye with a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on a modern Take That record! Lesson Over takes in all points in between too – but sits firmly in the singer/songwriter box.
The production – from Liverpool Acoustic favourite Barry Briercliffe – is stark, minimal, homespun and suits the tunes well.
The tunes themselves? A mixed bag, really. Standout song Wishing Man is a strummed lament that highlights the very edges of Swift’s vocals and will thrill those who get an emotional response from Snow Patrol’s big ballads. Opener Release Me is the most fully-formed track on this acoustic collection, with that Muse-esque riff and nagging percussion lifting the laborious melody.
Think Of Me overdoes the earnest songwriter vibe and the reliance on double-tracked vocals starts to grate on the lively Everybody’s Dreaming – nice acoustic guitar pattern though.
It’s the closer, Momentary Loss Of Conscious Thought, that is the key however. A lighter waving ballad – “I believed in love/I believed in magic” – that will either have you reaching to hug your best friend… or reaching for the sick bucket.
The EP has its moments and Swift has a good reputation – but the songs need more attention and craft if he is to stand out in an already over-saturated crowd.