June 4th, 2008 5:33 pm | by Amy Mccullough Music | Posted In: Cut of the Day

Matt Sheehy, "About Piano," from Tigerphobia (Revolve)

sheehytigerI realize I've already post two Cuts of the Day from Matt Sheehy's Tigerphobia ("Lunatics" and "Go Missing"), but they were both leaked tracks (one rough and one finished) that came my way well before the record's proper release. See, this album, Sheehy's post-Gravity & Henry debut, has been a long-time coming—and the polished and fancy-soundin' finished product is finally here. As such, I'd like to share one more tune from Tigerphobia with yas. It's my new fave from the album, "About Piano."

I've often said that Sheehy's electro-acoustic stylings remind me of John Vanderslice, with his vocals recalling Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Rob Crowe (Pinback) at times. But "About Piano" takes all those supposed influences and dulls 'em down a bit—allowing Sheehy to come into his own, loud and clear. It's all there: the effervescent but still razor-sharp guitar, the emotive delivery of lyrics just vague enough to hit a visceral nerve, the interestingly produced layers of sound: see acoustic guitar steadily rising under electric noodling, driving bass and sizzling, crash-heavy drum (which will be executed live by local jazz standout Drew Shoals).

And there's just something about the line, "You walk away from the bed/ And throw out all the pictures of her lying there" that really gets me. Maybe it's the way Sheehy stretches "there" out so painfully. Or perhaps it's the fact that a light-fingered piano breakdown (hence the name, presumably) follows it, right after a brief walk-down. It's short-lived, though—much like a tight little fist pumping after every line, that biting guitar right comes back in, adding a three-stroke punctuation to Sheehy's words—which, when declaring things like, "There's nothing wrong with what she said/ It's the way she said it/ That stings the ears," sting plenty on their own.

Unlike the silent tension that's struggling to be broken throughout the song's narrative, though, that guitar punches right through "About Piano"'s tapestry of sound. And, believe me, both are gonna leave a mark.


Sheehy celebrates the release of Tigerphobia Saturday, June 7, with the Brothers Young and Brett Knopf at the Doug Fir. 9 pm. $7. 21+.


Photo by Alicia J. Rose.
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