Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
11.8°C

Music Review: Matt Hires shines as he takes on demons

This CD cover image released by Rock Ridge Music shows "American Wilderness," by Matt Hires. (Rock Ridge Music via AP)
October 13, 2016 - 1:13 PM

Matt Hires, "American Wilderness" (Rock Ridge Music)

Matt Hires wrestles with negativity — and has a knack for dark, cutting turns of phrase.

"In the wilderness," he sings with serrated fury, "yeah, you're bound to fall, when you can't tell the difference between a chapel and a shopping mall."

"American Wilderness" proves that Hires has much to say — and a rocking way of saying it. He's grappling with demons against a passionate, adrenaline-fueled backdrop.

Hires lists Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jason Isbell among his influences, and you can hear that in his work. The outlook is darker, though, and the singing more reminiscent of Michael Stipe. Some of the songs, especially "Holy War," wouldn't be out of place on any 1980s-era REM album.

"My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine," Hires sings. "But sometimes it sucks to have to love you in America."

But if he sounds like Stipe, Hires enunciates more — perhaps because he wants to be heard taking on big questions. For much of the album, it's not clear he's winning.

Hires does close on a positive note. In perhaps his most candid moment, he announces in "Don't Let Your Heart Grow Cold" that winter will turn to spring, then confesses: "But I always forget when I'm freezin', when the days are shorter than the nights."

His struggle to stay positive is a fascinating journey, engaging enough to leave you rooting for him all the way.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Routine stop in Kamloops turns into yelling match on Halston Avenue
    KAMLOOPS - What should have been a straightforward impaired driving check became tense yesterday as people in two cars yelled at each other about who had guns in their cars, police say. Arou
  • RCMP confirm death of Vernon man was a homicide
    VERNON - What was first described as a suspicious death in Vernon is now being called a homicide by RCMP. Police are officially releasing the identity of a man found dead last Thursday, Mar
  • Kamloops RCMP bust drug dealer
    KAMLOOPS – Police in Kamloops have arrested a Falkland man for drug trafficking following an investigation two weeks ago. RCMP say members of the Street Level Drug Unit conducted an in
  • UPDATE: Man police sought identified
    KAMLOOPS - Kamloops RCMP have spoken with a man they were looking for in connection to a case of false identity. After an RCMP media release this morning, March 29, asking the public for tip
  • First solar road in Canada coming to Kamloops this summer
    KAMLOOPS - The first solar road in Canada will be built this summer at the Thompson Rivers University campus in Kamloops. The Solar Compass Project is due to be installed in June, a year lat
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile