Mark Matos and Os Beaches
Words of the Knife
Porto Franco Records
Words of the Knife may be Mark Matos’ first release, but he’s been playing around the Bay Area for longer than some hippies I know. His slow, powerful songs take their inspiration from every fragment of Americana from Tropicalia to Hawaiian Slack Key. Overall, you’ll hear a pedal steel-influenced country style, although Matos wanders off into darker progressive rock structured numbers late in the album. At 10 minutes and 22 seconds, “Warrior and The Thief” sounds positively anarchic after the Neil Young-sounding “Hired Hand” and “Imaginary, Winnipeg.” That mix of hillbilly and space cadet reaches a climax on the instrumental “Tras os Montes.” Here the pedal steel fades back to a random accompaniment while a single acoustic guitar and what might be a Theremin fill the voids between the stars in Matos’ universe. Wrapping up the disc is the quiet, bluesy “I Come Broken.” Here the country sounds and lyrics swell to the forefront, and we’re back on the curb in front of a dive bar we’ve just been kicked out of. The sun is burning hot, the hangover has set in, and another day of panhandling and abuse has begun. Deep down, we all have a day job, and this is just ours.
Porto Franco Records: www.portofrancorecords.com