CD Review: Matt Kjeldsen “Last Days”

Posted: October 9, 2018 in Music
Tags: , , , ,

Matt KjeldsenAustin-based singer-songwriter Matt Kjeldsen spent the year 2015 releasing two albums of original music. Released together at the same time, the albums Consequence and Renaissance plus Clouds and Cages contained a total of twenty-two tracks. But in reality, those twenty-two tracks were just a small sample of the songs that Kjeldsen had written at that time.

The reason why twenty-two songs is only a small amount for Kjeldsen is because he makes his living as a composer who works on supplying instrumental music for music libraries where those songs can and may well eventually be used for something or other. The resulting concept ended up being numerous song ideas that eventually lead him to create full-blown songs. And many of those ideas ended up being extended into songs that became the two albums entitled Consequence and Renaissance plus Clouds and Cages.

Now, three years later, Matt Kjeldsen returns with another release. This time, the singer-songwriter has produced a five-song EP called Last Days.

Matt Kjeldsen’s Last Days EP begins with the track called “Closer to Texas”. To start his new release off, Kjeldsen creates a track with a definite Americana feel to it. While the track features a strong Folk feel to the music in the form of a guitar and mandolin, there is also a Country background to the music if the form of the addition of the banjo that gives the track a feel that falls somewhere between the two styles. Because of the dual feel, “Closer to Texas” would fall firmly into the Americana genre. To go along with the feel of the music, the lyrical content finds Kjeldsen singing about finding his way back to the woman he once fell in love with.

With the song “I Should Know Me Better than That by Now,” Matt Kjeldsen creates a track that falls into the Folk-Rock category. The first thing the listener will notice is the lighter feel of the music. The more laidback feel to the music results in a track that feels as if it would have felt right at home back in the seventies. The acoustic guitar drives the feel of the music which contains a similarly easy feel that the previous track had. The difference between the two songs is that “I Should Know Me Better than That by Now” would have fit right in the middle of an MOR (Middle of the Road) radio format back in the seventies. While the track does have a laidback approach, the song feels as if it would have easily been a successful track at the time.

Last Days from Matt Kjeldsen continues with the title track of the EP. With this track, Kjeldsen creates another laidback tune with a Folk flavor to it. The title track of “Last Days” brings back some of the Americana feel that came from “Closer to Texas” as there is more to the feel of the music than just Folk influence. While the majority of the music falls into Folk, the addition of strings also gives the song a bit of Classical music influence. While the previous two tracks contain the aforementioned laidback feeling, the addition of the strings makes “Last Days” the most laidback of the tracks thus far. The track comes complete with a storytelling feel to the lyrics as Kjeldsen tells of a civilization that fell apart because of bad choices. It’s actually hard not to see some parallels between that time in history and what is currently going on. That may very well be what Kjeldsen is trying to get across with this track.

The first three tracks on Matt Kjeldsen’s newest release contain a certain amount of feeling that connects the tracks together in a similar fashion. But with the fourth song on the EP called “What Once Was,” Kjeldsen changes things up. Gone is the Folk feeling. What replaces it in this track is a much stronger Rock and Roll approach. And in particular, the feel of the music and the delivery of the lyrics on the track bring to mind the music of Tom Petty. As opposed to some tracks from Petty, the track of “What Once Was” has a very current feel to it, as if Petty himself would have recorded it not that long ago.

The latest EP from Matt Kjeldsen called Last Days comes to a close with the track “Ghosts and Shadows”. With this final track, Kjeldsen creates the strongest, hardest-rocking track of the five songs that appear on the EP. Gone away is the feeling of Folk…anything. Instead, what Kjeldsen creates is a Rock and Roll track that contains a strong, driving feel to the music. The track contains a feeling that feels like a combination of late sixties Psychedelic Rock and Rock and Roll from the late eighties. The track also contains lyrics that seem to suggest a time not unlike the days of Halloween. The track’s lyrical content also suggests something of a darker nature, like a haunting or something like that. With that combination, “Ghosts and Shadows” stands out as perhaps the most unusual of the five tracks that make up the Last Days release.

While only five songs long, Last Days from Matt Kjeldsen seems to present two different sides to the singer-songwriter. The first three tracks show off the more Folky side of his personality while the final two tracks help to bring out his more rocking’ side. That division creates an EP with a split feeling in its music. That isn’t a bad thing, however. It just means that there different influences that feed Kjeldsen’s writing. As it is, the five-song EP is a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with the music from Matt Kjeldsen.

For more on Matt Kjeldsen and his music, check out his website called Matt’s Music Box.

For a taste of Kjeldsen’s music, check out the title track off of the Last Days release. 

To hear the Last Days EP, click on the album cover below:
Kjeldsen

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