Matthew Logan Vasquez
Does What He Wants (Dine Alone)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., April 28, 2017
Matthew Logan Vasquez's hiatus from Delta Spirit came to satisfying fruition on last year's debut solo LP Solicitor Returns, pivoting subtly from his band's indie rock Americana to an entirely self-actualized approximation of Neil Young – grungy, melodious, and piano-accented. Sophomore follow-up Does What He Wants fails to cohere by refusing to settle on any consistent point. The jagged album arc begins on soul bluster "Same" with vocal support from the Suffers' Kam Franklin, then shifts into the chiming earnestness of "Fatherhood," odd rambling rattle "Fires Down in Mexico," and finally soft ballad "Tall Man," which riffs melody from Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons," whether intentional or not. Elsewhere, bizarre tropical vibe "Red Fish" evokes Harry Nilsson, piano ballad "The Fighter" swells tender elegy, and "House Full of Music" waltzes sweetly despite Vasquez's ill-advised attempts at Roy Orbison. Individually, each track dishes compelling nuggets, but the song cycle plays out scattershot at best.