Last month the wonderfully kooky Occam’s Razor, a strange blend of musical whimsy and archaic philosophical referencing, caught my ear and so it seemed only natural that when Matt Saxton’s latest full album saw the light of day it should make the “to do” list without hesitation. And I’m glad it did. I Wasn’t Looking For Love revels that Matt isn’t just about the jaunty japery, whilst he is great at charging songs with a wonderful bounce and accessibility, there is a lot more to his music than Occam’s Razor first suggests.
The title track, for instance, is an emotive pop ballad, an understated paean to the night he met his wife, a song which slow burns its way towards a wonderful crescendo by gradually added depth and texture, evocative and deft musical lines and cool harmonies. At the other extreme Where Are You Now is dressed for carnival, all African infused guitar cascades, island beats and calypso grooves. The charm of the album lies in Matt’s ability to take sensitive subjects, both personal and universal and express some wonderful inner truth in a new and eloquent way, whether it is reflecting on past relationships, everlasting family bonds and just the stuff of life, love, loss, longing and the like.
Musically it sits in that classic singer songwriter canon, wandering between English folk, mid-Atlantic acoustic pop and American roots influences, it even tips a natty fedora in Neil Young’s direction, which is always going to get my vote. I Wasn’t looking For Love balances the often overdone “guy with a guitar” vibe with some wonderful instrumentation and musical motifs, enough sonic detail and wonderful design to keep things interesting but enough space that the songs are framed perfectly.
Occam’s Razor states that the simplest way forward is the simplest and in a way that is what Matt does here, the hand isn’t overplayed, the music is both subtle and supple and the overall affect is chilled but engaging, something that is only possible when you have the ability to write really great songs in the first place.