Although essentially just another guy with an acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter these days, Mat Caron seems miles removed from the usual gap year, troubadour with the designer-distressed, skinny black jeans giving us the benefit of his world experience garnered in the six months since he moved out of home. Mat’s voice alone creates an air of world weariness, of experience and a life lived, dulcet tones delivering semi-spoken, bitter-sweet nuggets of wisdom, personal world views and edgy narratives.
Add to that simple, direct, rhythmic and often hypnotically repetitive guitar work and he creates something wonderfully at odds with the current musical zeitgeist, instead feeling more like an off shoot of nineties, American college rock, the sort of thing that would sit comfortably alongside the likes of an acoustic Sebadoh or a chilled out Bob Mould.
Audience Song exists somewhere between Leonard Cohen and John Martyn, a blend of the hushed and the hazy, the sonorous and the subdued, and Long Wind is a more frantic, melodic drive, an introspective wander through thoughts and opinions, a confessional, therapists chair outpouring, lyrically poignant and mesmerising. And between these two sonic points he describes his musical world. Transference (Still Moon) has a downbeat Portishead trippiness rooted to its core and A Learning Curve reveals his resonant vocals to be the indie successor to Johnny Cash.
But more than anything it is the language he uses that sets him apart from the modern pack, the fact that he doesn’t shy away from delving into the depths of modern society, contemporary life…his life… and talking about its dark underbelly. If you have had enough of the perky pop and the shallow nature of modern artists, if you are looking for a darker take on the human condition, something both personal and self-examining yet universally relevant and more than anything else brilliantly honest, then Mat should be your next port of call.