Frequently beautiful songs delivered with wisdom, generosity, kindness and sincerity.
It’s beautiful how effortless this sounds, how timeless it feels. Such light touches. A voice, sometimes keening, reassuringly controlled, a warm, engrossing record that oughtn’t surprise those who were slowly mugged by 2018’s ‘Rare Feeling’ which was a little like being sucked into the La Brea tarpits. “Has it really been 4 years?” he asks in ‘O Dog Mind’, a call back to Little Dog Mind off that album and it has, though there have been others: 2020’s slightly confusing ‘Adventure’; 2021’s cassette-only ‘Days of Effort, Days of Ease’, an intimate triumph, and of course, helping out Big Thief, particularly on this year’s guaranteed, sites-wide 2022 top tenner, ‘Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You’. Now this, a double LP which is at least that lauded album’s equal.
Aka Matt Davidson, ex-Low Anthem, the record called Noon for the time in his life, midway, the lowest point of the bell curve, able to look back with regret and forward with hope, neatly captured in the title track:
“I was lonely, you took pity, told me things I cannot forget
said: there are questions only men ask, there are answers only women know
said: the truth is ever changing learn forgiveness ‘for you get too old
said: people don’t know why they’re lying, can’t you love them as you love the truth
said: trust in love and trust in nature let the spirit be the living proof “
Forgiveness is a theme, alluded to again in one of Noon’s many highlights, A Kiss, “watching big religions vanish like a flame; let’s learn forgiveness before the teacher’s gone.” The deceptively jaunty King of Fools, bemoaning greed and violence, “I see a couple children fighting over toys; how long must they die and die and die to satisfy the King of Fools.”
The beautiful ‘2 Lovers’, with a promise not to shun his heart; the compassionate ‘Friend That Helps’, a simple “buddy are you doing alright” belies the depth and gratitude herein. A possible highlight is the transcendental ‘The Light’ in which he states “I won’t line up with all the rest, I like the way I was designed”, and so should we. These frequently beautiful songs are delivered with wisdom, generosity, kindness and sincerity, as he and they try to make sense of the world that produced both him, and the songs themselves.
Art should be sincere, irrespective of discipline, as its purpose is to help, to make us feel less alone, to make us smile, to make hearts swell and to comfort. Some need it and need it to be honest and some need words sang over notes and chords to get through their day, or to enhance it, or to help forget it. Some need it to make sense of things or places, or simply to remember. Music aids time travel.
The confidence here from a humble source is warming. A very human being, at ease with himself and his own existence, generously sharing his wisdom and spreading the wealth with beauty, kindness and sincerity. It’s easy to forget how nourishing someone brilliant doing something brilliant can be. It’s reassuring and it’s welcome, and at a time of increasing bewilderment, where people and things are reduced to basic attributes, where there’s little room for change, or the growth that comes from forgiveness, art like this is rare. A gem.