Matthew Logan Vasquez
Light'n Up (Dine Alone)
Reviewed by Elise Barbin, Fri., June 14, 2019
Two solo albums already logged, Matthew Logan Vasquez punches in ambitious and exploratory on Light'n Up. The ex-Texan examines his heartland heart from across the Atlantic, with his new Norwegian lodgings name-checked on the LP finale. Pointillistic touches like somber, sitar-like bass runs and Parisian accordions elevate tales of growing pains, working blues, and fatherhood in traversing places the Delta Spirit frontman's solo catalog does not: to a sound beyond white middle America. Of course, shaking influence tasks tough when a whole rock generation or two sits on your shoulders. Voice refracting truly Tweedy-esque on "I Love My Boy," "Trailer Park" sounds ripped straight from an Eighties Springsteen B-side. History heeds many a worse crime, but Vasquez's chops prove he's no wannabe fanboy. Light'n Up strides in sophistication and thematic cohesion, with only one or two steps out of bounds.