Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World wants to take you on an indie folk journey. Their self-titled release hearkens to the sounds of Neil Young, Bob Dylan and James Taylor. Townsend, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina by way of Burlington, Vermont started writing around 2008 and subsequently began performing in local coffeehouses and other venues in 2010. The sounds emerging from the speakers once Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World are captivating, mysterious and thought-provoking.
"Seventh Story" begins the release and is full of folk tidbits, and instrumentation that will undoubtedly have you swaying and patting your foot while also understanding Townsend's unparalleled delivery and uniquely connected vocal tone. On "Hollow City (Free Me to My Soul)" paints a heavy-laden story of many streets that take on the burdens of the inhabitants that live on them - from the rich man to the homeless man. Townsend takes a storytelling approach with this song seemingly hopeful of a society that is freer, and more vulnerable to seeing the bright spots that each individual has to offer.
"Desire Like a Lion" is perhaps the favorite of this reviewer more or less because of its simplicity. A tale of love, Townsend's voice doesn't compete with the guitar but rather the instrument warmly embraces his Paul Simon-esque take on music. The finale, "Gratitude in Being" speaks to living in the moment and just being rather than trying to think of the future. It uncovers the need for mankind to be grateful for each moment - and life itself.
The LP is set to be released in June after being successfully crowd-funded. After one listen to the self-titled release, it will be easy to see why Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World are what the world of music needs.
Final Grade: A
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