Friday, April 01, 2011

P&J 2010 (One and Done): Matt Boroff, "Reaching for Sparks"

30 points, t-365, voted on by Rob O' Connor

I couldn't find this album, but I managed to hear live versions of six songs from it via Youtube. Oddly enough, Boroff's Myspace page only contains music by his band, Matt Boroff and the Mirrors, and the section on Boroff's own website that's devoted to his solo work is still under construction. I'm suddenly not surprised that only one P&J voter heard his album!

On his Myspace page, the music of The Mirrors is described as if "they'd taken the brains of Quentin Tarantino, Tom Waits and David Lynch, seasoned them with opium, stuffed them into a meat grinder and baked them in a junkyard on the sun." I listened to a few of their songs and ... yeah, I can't top that, the description is totally accurate. This twang-drenched, slowed down West Coast surf rock couldn't sound more Tarantino soundtrack-ready even if Tarantino had commissioned it himself.

Boroff's solo work is more in the vein of confessional singer songwriter folk rock, and from the first few moments of "1000 Pieces", I know that I'll never "get" solo Matt Boroff for a number of reasons -- I don't really pay attention to lyrics, I'm not a guitar player (Boroff seems like a guitar player's guitar player, where 20% of the audience at his shows are carefully watching his picking technique and if I'm wrong about this, well, then it certainly proves that I'm not a guitar player doesn't it??), and other than Kirsten Hirsh and Lisa Germano, I can't think offhand of any artists who have done solo acoustic work that I really like. It actually goes a bit further than that ... solo acoustic + anything vaguely Americana? Definitely not my style.

On the other hand, I "get" Matt Boroff perfectly, because I've seen live shows by plenty of like-minded artists. You know the scene -- a small club that can look crowded once 50 people file in, the audience sits in shocked silence during the songs (half of them are his friends and family), a calm but intense stage presence that easily grabs your attention (check out "Things You Should Know" for a good example of this). Time slows down, every pluck of the guitar strings seems to ring and reverb around the room for several seconds and every breath he takes is easily audible. There's little doubt that I'd have been moved by his performance if I happened to catch a thirty minute set by Matt Boroff in an intimate club.

But I would never listen to his music at home.

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