Matt Marque – Get There

3 out of 5

Produced by: Michael Krassner (engineered by)

Label: Truckstop

While the warbly vocals, gentle guitar pluckings and snarkily bare relationship observations suggest an emo-tinged heart-string affair for the Bright Eyes crowd, the presence of such notable names as Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, Boxhead Ensemble founder and low-key folk producer Michael Krassner, cello avant-garde session player Fred Lonberg-Holmes – and others – is an interesting vote of confidence for a debut from a young artist, not to mention appearing on Truckstop label, which I would in no way associate with emo.  There is indeed something pleasantly off about Get There, with the way Marque segues from delicate moments to Pavement-y wanderings, and that his girl ramblings feel more insular than attempts at being overly clever.  Even from the way opener ‘The Spiral in Your Stare’ cuts suddenly from a pleasant, waltzy ditty to its stutter step latter half is indicative of Marque’s general presentation: of letting his mood dictate the songs’ flowing out to fullness or wrapping it up after a quick two-minute burst of a misleadingly dainty tune.  The effect, though, is fairly ephemeral; while the recording is a lot richer than first suspected, the restraint that keeps it unique also prevents it from really transporting your too far.  The imagery stirs up recognizable emotions and feelings – sad, rainy ones – while you’re tapping your toe to the surprisingly catchy, minimal composition, and then it ends before the sensation gets to sink in.

Still, all those supporting players’ confidence is well-founded: there is something of value here, just waiting to get a few more callouses and learn how to face the crowd when playing.