Matthew Browning releases new music
In his new song “Underneath the Willow Tree,” which also serves as the opening track to his debut album, appropriately titled Love & Grief, indie singer/songwriter Matthew Browning takes us on a journey into the depths of his soul, crossing through some very elaborately designed impasses along the way and coming in contact with the most suffocating tonality ever to make its way onto a mainstream record. Musically, Browning’s willow tree casts a shadow over everything that is within earshot, and the riveting feeling that we’re constantly approaching something unknown will make the every hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. “Underneath the Willow Tree” could easily be adapted into a classical piece backed by a full symphonic orchestra and maintain all of its magnificent allure.
The lyrics, or rather the prose employed to express them, are just as meaningful and lingering as the music is in “Underneath the Willow Tree,” transforming the song from a cathartic power anthem into a well-rounded complete work of art. Matthew Browning wrestles with demons in the shade of the tree creating all of this opulent darkness, and in trying to figure out his own identity he ends up teaching us a lot about ourselves. It’s a twist of fate, but at the same time it feels completely deliberate. Browning doesn’t seem like the type of artist, or even the type of person, who does anything without thinking it out first. One thing that is missing in his music, in every song that he’s released to date, is amateurish impatience.
“I Walked Over the Edge” is the second single released by Browning, and like “Underneath the Willow Tree,” it’s music is markedly more imagistic than anything on pop radio today. Unlike its predecessor however, “I Walked Over the Edge” is intrepidly slow-acting, relying on a churning, mild beat to walk alongside Matthew Browning’s vocal weaving. It isn’t the juggernaut that “Underneath the Willow Tree” is, but it’s definitely a deceptively strong number from an artist who clearly is capable of delivering his message on a high note or a more sedated one with complete ease. Browning is like a painter, applying soft stroke after soft stroke one at a time, allowing his masterpiece to unfold over time.
Lyrically “I Walked Over the Edge” is much more bipolar and weighed with duality than any of the other songs on Love & Grief, which I suppose makes it a perfect, simplified summary of what listeners can expect to find in the totality of the album. Browning includes a lot of inner monologues in his lyrics, as if to be singing verses taken directly from his own diary, and while the intimacy can be quite intense for some audiences to take in all at once, I actually found his literal honesty to be his greatest attribute. Based on the strength of these initial offerings, I can only come to one conclusion in regards to the future of Matthew Browning’s music, and that is to say that he’s likely going to be a presence in pop for some time to come.