Little Matador: Little Matador

little matadorLittle Matador
Little Matador
(Fiction Records)

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With a lull in Snow Patrol’s schedule, guitarist Nathan Connolly has stepped up to the foreground with a handpicked roster of bandmates who have played in groups like LaFaro, The Frames, and Bell X1. Though the music has drawn frequent, not inaccurate comparisons to Queens of the Stone Age, Little Matador is surprisingly raw and vulnerable in its lyrics. It’s not often that men are so open writing about heartbreak, let alone with enough electric guitar and swagger to rock out to.

Little Matador strikes on all cylinders, offering songs loud enough for some healthy headbanging while remaining rooted in enough melody to dance along. This is the fundamental contradiction that drives the music so successfully: the volume may seem like many of the songs are angry, but instead they are deeply confessional. “Stitch Yourself Up” depicts the shock and agony of a relationship’s end, while the lyrics to “Reason” read like a direct transcript of an argument.

The record also features some interesting flourishes to set it apart from strict guitar rock. “Boom Boom” pairs simple lyrics with electronic elements to create contrast with the rest of the album. Keyboards during the verses of “Give & Take” add an element of vulnerability, making the chorus sound far more confident and defiant.

Perhaps most striking, however, is the final track, “Leaving Anyway.” Bluesy acoustic guitar adds to the sense of resignation present in the lyrics. It’s a bold choice to strip away the amps and the pounding drums, but it’s the perfect ending. Little Matador embodies wearing your heart on your sleeve. There just might be some tattoos there, too.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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