Matt Pryor – May Day

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Matt Pryor

May Day - Nightshoes Syndicate

When it comes to Get Up Kids frontman Matt Pryor, I’ve gone about introductions quite backwards.  Rather than swooning over their older post-punk material back in the late 90’s and early 00’s, I waited until their breakup and for Pryor released his first solo work, Confidence Man, to take notice.  Instantly, I fell for his placid combination of vocals and well spun acoustic, folk-inspired tales of woe and personal triumph.  So it comes with great satisfaction to report that his sophomore full-length, May Day, lives up to – and in many ways surpasses – his initial debut.

Pryor’s greatest accomplishment is his personal connection, which shouldn’t surprise me given Get Up Kids’ deep-rooted emotional focus.  When it comes to messages from the heart, there are few rivals.  And oddly, sometimes it takes a step backwards to truly move forwards.  Pryor seems to have opted to strip himself of most production elements to the point in which some songs sound as if played in a small room on a wooden crate in front of a microphone.  Specifically “As Lies Go… This One Is Beautiful” and opener “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down” flow with organic execution, placing the emphasis purely on message and delivery.  “Don’t let the bastards get you down, they can go to hell” etches Pryor in the stonework of his listeners’ mind, his most powerful confession following in the line “sometimes a lack of options is the drive that keeps me here.”  Raised from his well of experience, Pryor muddies the line between grievance and moving-on with an innate know-how.

Pryor maintains a steady level of personal growth throughout, eventually reintegrating May Day with more complex compositions.  “Polish The Broken Glass” for instance gradually reintegrates a wide spectrum of instruments, including mandolin, piano, and various percussive elements.  “I will choose, which of the battles I fight, which of the causes I die, the people I love, save me” Pryor repeats in a powerful track concluding statement to the power of friendship.  That Pryor is invested in each guitar string, piano key, and lyric, couldn’t be more evident.  Selecting standouts is no simple task, but “Your New Favourite Weapon,” “The Lies Are Keeping Me Here” and “You Won’t Get Any Blood From Me” are great starting points.

When the curtain finally falls on this twelve song introspective, it’s hard not to feel that a little something has changed.  The honesty and love pushing each line and lyric is real, making May Day a true successor toConfidence Man, and exciting turning point in Matt Pryor’s development as a unique solo success.