By Charlie Floyd

Matthew Swinnerton


Out Now via Trestle Records

Matthew Swinnerton is probably best known as the guitarist from The Rakes (one of the post-punk revival bands that suddenly appeared in the top 40 in the early 2000s). This boom of indie bands was relatively short lived however and only a handful of the original bands associated with the movement are still together. The Rakes were one of the bands that didn't make it and they abruptly disbanded in 2009. After a few years of silence Matthew Swinnerton has reappeared to release this modest instrumental solo album.

Lampenfieber is intimate and unassuming. Swinnerton shifts his referential gaze back a further few years from post-punk towards krautrock, and uses this to create a restrained yet catchy collection of songs bound together by experimental field recordings and ambient synth. There's nothing particularly new about this album when taken in parts, but the blending as a whole conjures a unique sound, and swinging between upbeat poppy tracks, slightly melancholic guitar loops and ambient interludes keeps Lampenfieber from ever feeling too repetitive. It sits at only 30 minutes but that feels like the perfect length for this material. Over the short running time it seems to build confidence, and the guitar becomes slowly more prominent and catchy before finally slinking away again into the ambience.

While this mixture of differently paced tracks works well throughout the course of album It's the last three tracks that really stand out; 'Viking Sunrise' is the highlight here and gets to the root of the catchy krautrock pop drive that Swinnerton had been striving for with previous tracks. 'Country Pursuits' sticks to a similar format at a slightly slower pace and again serves to be memorable. While the final track, 'Flying Saucers Are Hostile', sees the ambient effects take over once more, before one final surprisingly sombre guitar section appears as a last minute sendoff.

Overall it's an album that relies heavily on previous genres and styles (the similarities to Manuel Göttching's work are unavoidable) but is one that does bring its own originalities to the table. It captures a timid, nighttime vibe perfectly and is most importantly a very enjoyable album.


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