Matthew Puckett – Sad Little Car EP

Matthew Puckett
Sad Little Car EP

Matthew Puckett steps away from his full-time band, appropriately named Puckett, to offer up this release, a beautiful and moving EP of songs put together in his first effort to score a film. The film, Particles of Truth, is a love story set in New York City about vulnerable, scared, and passionate people in their search for compassion, and Puckett uses the simple instrumentation of mostly just acoustic guitar and voice to create stark and moody songs that fit that theme to a tee.

The best singer/songwriters can do quite a bit with a small amount, and on this collection of songs – only four of which are actually used in the movie – Puckett proves himself highly capable of that. Most of these songs are performed on an old four-string acoustic guitar, which helps give these tunes a bit of a rustic feel that Puckett’s strong voice nicely compliments. Most important is how the quiet tone contributes to the feel of searching and longing of the film’s theme.

The opening “Self” is the moodiest offering here, very quiet and stark, with Puckett tapping out a rhythm as he softly plucks the guitar strings and adding bits of old folk-style harmonica. It really serves as an introduction to this release, making way for the more upbeat “Sad Little Car,” which has perhaps the hookiest chorus on the album while still possessing the consistent mood of the EP. Again, Puckett provides the rhythm manually on “Come Here Honey,” which also adds some soft keyboards and layered vocal styles. My favorite song is also the prettiest on the release. “Time Passes” is stark and quiet, repetitive in a comforting and enveloping way. The layered chorus of “I will wait for you … time passes, time passes” is very moving, and Puckett sings most of these words with an almost intimate whisper.

Some of these songs feel more esoteric, partially formed in a way to compliment a film without overpowering the moment, and this in itself lends a fragility to the tunes. The quietly flowing “Corner” and the stark “Children” are good examples of that approach. The multiple vocals and more upbeat vocal approach on “Myself Again” finally offer a greater sense of optimism to end the release.

I was extremely impressed by Puckett’s band’s debut, 23, but more so by Puckett’s solo work. There’s a multitude of acoustic singer/songwriters out there, but what makes the best stand out, in my mind, is the ability to convey strong feeling with a minimum of instrumentation. Puckett succeeds tremendously. The seven songs here are quiet and moody yet undeniably catchy in ways that nods to Puckett’s rock sensibilities. Without even seeing the film Particles of Truth, I can tell this is a perfect fit. I highly recommend this talented songwriter’s work.