Matthew Shaw
"Ghosts in the Concrete"

(Burning Building Recordings! 2004)Matthew Shaw - Ghosts in the Concrete

There is something unmistakably appealing about Matthew Shaw's understated music on "Ghosts in the Concrete." While guitar, bass, keyboards and piano all make an appearance, creating the gentle melodies that pop and glide behind Shaw's delicate vocals, rarely do they build to a full culmination. Instead, like parts in a machine, each instrument has a function, creating a sound that intermingles, coming together overall when taken as a whole.

Pounding drums get the ball rolling on the memorable "Constant Movement" as Shaw counteracts the low thumping instrumentation on the verses with a soft keyboard melody that adds some hope to the otherwise gloomy song while "Transition" sounds similar enough to be considered an extension. Gentle, smooth melodies take over on "Sink in the Sea" while "Ghosts in the Concrete" pops and sputters over twinkling electronics. "When nothing's ever free, the ATM is never lonely," Shaw miserably sings through incessantly ticking electronic pulses on "Currency." Drum machines crash and roll on the harder edge on "The Argument" as bass thumps heavily over the lyrics of bittersweet reminiscing on "The Fields."

Shaw remains balanced throughout "Ghosts in the Concrete," his thoughtful lyrics and affecting delivery shining through the unassuming instrumentation for a poignant result. His combination of thumping electronics and indie rock blend seamlessly on "Ghosts in the Concrete." "These songs won't help my bills this month," Shaw sings on "Descartes." Judging by his likable and well crafted songs on "Ghosts in the Concrete," it seems promising that perhaps he will be pleasantly surprised and proved wrong one day.