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Matthew J. Hall – Unquiet Mind

For You and I straight from the off, opens the album ‘Unquiet Mind’ with allure and attitude. A minimalist drum beat combined with a low tempo bass rhythm hold attention as ambient guitar fills the background. These extended moments of instrumentals fill the quiet between vocal deliveries. Epic and brooding with mysterious undercurrents that builds to an incredible crescendo.

Shot Down completely switches everything up, with a complete change of style. Going for a more upfront delivery, with vocals filling the air a lot more and more substance than the first track’s minimal approach. The bass sitting at the forefront and natural ambience still remain but are used with very very different sounds. 

Shudder strips everything back completely, with the effect of singing in an empty room due to the muted sounds of every instrument. It doubles down on the stripped back style and isn’t afraid to play things a little more quietly, giving Matthew J. Hall a chance to show his true vocal prowess.

Once again things change completely in My Beautiful Friend, adding a drum machine in and going with a R&B style ballad. Whilst that is the core of it, there is some excellent synth which gives an 80’s flavour too. As time goes by more and more is layered in, with the bass dominating the instrumental side once again with a great delivery. 

Right at the halfway mark is the title track, An Unquiet Mind. And if the previous track felt like an R&B ballad, this one ropes in acoustic guitar and strings that give a country and soft rock flavour. The lyrics in An Unquiet Mind also feel more tangible and real than the very ambiguous ones of previous tracks. 

Past the halfway point is Feeling, and the overarching theme of each song fitting a different genre into the jigsaw continues. This time we get a hint of electro at the beginning, with the song going for a more post-rock style as it gets into full swing.

Guess I’m Sitting Here (Wondering) straight away stands out, with it’s much higher tempo and distinctly more noticeable use of guitar. With a repeating riff and bass rhythm to carry it, you begin to hear the most familiar sounding track so far. It feels at once unique but also very familiar, with its mainstream sound and accessible feel. 

Night Sweats once again reels in the tempo after the previous track let rip a little. But this time we have the most melancholy and heartfelt ballad on the entire album. With the pained crooning and brutally sad sounding guitar strumming away it really hits hard. When the song enters its second half, it opens up as though letting out all the emotion fully as a distorted church organ, percussion and cacophony of other instruments join the fray.

Closing out the album is The Sweetest Dream, which has the feeling of being underwater with it’s ambient effects, where only the vocals are truly real until life is injected into the song similar to Night Sweats, as guitars strum and ring out. Towards the end, an entire choir of echoed voices join in briefly for the first time which is truly magnificent. Though it closes with no real resolution as it fades without ever peaking.