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Domestic Partnership

Album review: Mat Shoare - Domestic Partnership

Golden Sound Records is on a string of great releases. They kicked off mid-summer with Party Line from The Empty Spaces, later put out Ross Brown’s sophomore release, the new Everyday/Everynight singles, and now Mat Shoare’s fourth album. Within the past year, Shoare has somehow found the time and inspiration to write Domestic Partnership. As frontman of The Empty Spaces and a visceral component of Everyday/Everynight, one wonders where Shoare found the creative muses to write this breathtaking album.
Taking a more somber tone than The Empty Spaces’ upbeat surf-rock, and a more earthly sound than the ambient Everyday/Everynight, Domestic Partnership is an album that is easy to grasp. The album is full of sad, sorry tales, and real-life happenings that everyone, at some point, will have or has experienced.
The recording quality seems low-end, but works insanely well with this album. The album sounds as if Shoare recorded it while sitting right next to you. Domestic Partnership’s liner notes state: “…recorded by Mat Shoare in multiple bedrooms, basements, and offices…” And that aspect is definitely felt throughout the album. As mentioned, it sounds as if Shoare could have been playing the song while in the same room as you. This hosts a brilliant emotional linkage to his songs; not unlike seeing him perform live. For these kinds of songs, you don’t want over-produced and completely flawless music—it’s straight and it’s real.
Shoare’s vocals embody a haunting undertone while remaining pleasantly familiar. It sounds like a voice you know, one that you are inclined to listen to. His vocal range is quite impressive as well. Varying from a low and daunting timbre, like in the opening track “Patterns in the Sand,” to a high-pitched screech (a characteristic of The Empty Spaces) found in the title track. Backing himself up with a plethora of “ooohs” adds depth to songs like “Patterns in the Sand,” among others.
This album is a no-holds-barred attack on the reality of life. Shoare’s lyrics come at you like a slap to the face or a kick in the shin. Shoare definitely does not sugar coat a single line for the listener. “We never get older, we only get sadder, we never get bolder, we only get madder” is a shining example from “Meadowlark.” His words hurt and are full of some sort of pain, but paralleling this pain is an organic sense of sympathy, from Shoare to you. Domestic Partnership sounds like two people sitting, talking, and listening to each other: a therapy session.
Shoare celebrated the release of Domestic Partnership at recordBar this past weekend. The official release of the album will be tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11. You can order the CD and preview a track at the Golden Sound Records’ link here.
--Steven Ervay
Steven is the intern of Midwest Music Foundation and The Deli - Kansas City. He can't go to 21+ shows yet and that bums him out.  

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