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Matt Suggs

You may already know and love Matt Suggs from his days in the charming noise-pop outfit Butterglory. After that band's demise in 1997, Suggs remained in contact with his pals at Merge Records, and in late 1999 sent over a demo tape for their perusal. Though he thought of these solo songs as "works-in-progress," the folks at Merge were so blown away by the music's gentle beauty that they demanded to release them straightaway. The result is Golden Days Before They End (a lyric from Roy Orbison's "It's Over"), twelve diverse and lovely songs about lost love, wandering ghosts, and awful curses. They're slightly dark, lovelorn, and tinged with dust and experience.

"Skeleton Blues in B Flat Minor," the first song on Golden Days Before They End, is a warm, cheeky Roy Orbison-esque pop song that is propelled along by a simple guitar hook and Suggs's clever vocals. From there, the album opens up on a broad landscape populated with vaguely unsavory characters whose actions Suggs describes in twisted folk tales. The music shimmies and dances from lush syncopated pop to sizzling countrified twang, but the shining constant is Suggs's voice. With sweet-sinister lyrics and smooth sanded timbre, Suggs comes off as an attractive cross between Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, and The Silver Jews' David Berman. The featured "Where's Your Patience Dear" amiably lopes along, spreading dark lyrics over a cheery musical background before dissipating in a flurry of bells.

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