Album Review: Matt Saxton – It’s Only Now That I Know

The Breakdown

East Sussex singer-songwriter Matt Saxton showcases his songwriting skill, honest lyricism and musical diversity on his new album 'It's Only Now That I Know'.

East Sussex singer-songwriter Matt Saxton showcases his songwriting skill, honest lyricism and musical diversity on his new album ‘It’s Only Now That I Know’. An album full of emotionally intense lyricism, Saxton explains that the album covers a number of hard-hitting topics: “The album covers a variety of themes including SAD Syndrome (Animal), insomnia (Tonight), marital crisis (Back to You) and childhood trauma (Biggin Hill Blues).”

Opening with the bopping, 80’s infused, Talk Talk-esque soundscape of pulsing synths, piano, bass, subtle guitar lines and tight drums, ‘Tonight’ opens the album with a unexpected upbeat musical tone. Saxton’s vocal soon enters contrasting his melancholic, understated and yet affecting vocal delivery as he contrasts the upbeat musical tones with bitingly honest, hard hitting lyricism comparable to The National and Nick Cave, setting the tone for the self-reflective, cathartic lyricism that can be found across the album’s 8 tracks.

Track 2 ‘Animal’ offers a more emotive soundscape under Saxton’s moving lead vocal. As the track develops, the chorus introduces an unexpected female vocal harmony which serves to lift the track and enhance the chorus’s hook. The first two tracks capture an element of The National’s ‘I Am Easy To Find’ both in Saxton’s vocal delivery and the musical warmth.

‘Its Only Now That I know’, for me the highlight from the album brings together some wonderful musical textures of crunchy, guitar lines, a twinkling piano riff and a country tinted shuffling drum beat and swaying chord selection under Saxton’s ever emotive vocal delivery. As the track builds it introduces some brilliant euphoric musical breaks underpinning the simplistic yet intensely affecting and catchy chorus vocal line. As the track moves towards it’s climax some effortlessly great slide guitar comes to the fore over the spine tingling backing on a track I can only imagine must close all of his sets at a live show.

Elsewhere on the album, ‘It’s Alright’ leans further into the more Nick Cave side of Saxton’s repertoire while ‘Doomed From The Start’ see’s Nick circle back to the 80’s synth work which opens the album.

Closing with the upbeat overlapping piano and guitar riffs of ‘Souls’, Saxton finishes of the album on a welcome optimistic note, reinforcing the cathartic nature of the album with some reflective lyricism which talk about not talking life for granted. This is a perfect finish to the album, closing out what feels like a musical healing process for Matt.

An album full of honest emotion, depth and warming musical textures, ‘It’s Only Now That I Know’ is a masterclass in reflecting hard-hitting lyricism with at times upbeat soundscapes to create music with depth and appeal beyond it’s emotional lyrical content. Listen to the album below:

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