Matthew Vincent & Alexander Correia – Split
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: July 9, 2013
“It’s hard to let go. Even when what you’re holding onto is full of thorns, it’s hard to let go. Maybe especially then.” –Stephen King, Joyland
Leave it to two of the most underrated frontmen/songwriters to come together and craft the most poignant split of the year. Matthew Vincent of The American Scene and Alexander Correia of The Tower and The Fool each deliver three songs drenched in overwhelming melancholy, and the result is a kind of sorrowing beauty. That Stephen King quote from Joyland really pinpoints the feel of this entire split – the process of loss and letting go is painful and it seems to always ache. A dull yet constant pain in the back of your heart. Both Vincent and Correia attest to this.
From the moment the dismal guitar plucks weave their way in on Vincent’s “Wicked Thirst,” the somberness begins. Throughout the song, he laments on his regrets, being candid to the point of heartrending: “There's a dozen different things / I wish you hadn't seen / Everything is embarrassing / When you're sober / Sweating out the weekend.” Such tormented imagery, pain, regret. This is a new kind of honesty from Vincent, and when coupled with just an acoustic guitar, these words and sadness resonate within your ears. Covering a song as haunting as Bat For Lashes' “Sad Eyes” is a daring feat to begin with, but Vincent keeps the hollowing pain of the original, with the line “I'll have a bath / I'll make the dinner / And then I'll go away for a long time” being so calmly placed into the song it takes a second to register just how devastating it is. Moments like this prove that Vincent would be fully capable of doing an acoustic solo album, as he doesn’t need anything except his gentle delivery and guitar to produce emotion.
As expected, a sense of loss resides within the core of each of the Correia songs. On “I Run With The Haunted,” he describes the slipping away of everything you love in life and being unable to find comfort, delivering one of the most chilling lines on the split: “I've gone and buried a man with my bare hands down by a riverbed / But I can't find that place where God says to sit and wait just find yourself.” In a moment of extreme loneliness, the reverberating guitar picks add to the unnerving agony of wandering around, desperate for security. Both “Let It Ride” and “Corinna” take a different path than the acoustic route, using more advanced and prominent guitar work rather than letting the vocals have the spotlight. On the latter, the repetition of the words “You don’t know what love means” weaves in and out of the guitar pieces, making sure the lingering delivery stands out.
Reading Joyland and writing this review on the same day, I find myself thinking about how some of my favorite pieces of art and expression concern heartbreak. There’s something about loss that’s palpable. It’s relatable. There’s something about depressing novels that keeps sentences within your head long after reading it. There’s something in gloom-filled songs that almost forces you to press repeat. Maybe that’s why How Long still gets frequent plays in my headphones at night. There’s a sense of odd comfort within these sad songs – I think that’s true for anyone and in any type of art. I know it’s true here, as Matthew Vincent and Alexander Correia have made a truly unforgettable split, full of poignant heartbreak, but more importantly, full of tangible beauty and touching art.