Matt Suggs Golden Days Before They End

On the back cover of his solo debut album, former Butterglory bandleader Suggs is seen dancing along a road lined with lemon trees. Inside, his upbeat melodies disguise odd and dark tales such as "She Kept Time To The Teardrops." Beatle-y drum sounds and rich piano colour his acoustic guitar-driven tunes, which are largely informed by '60s panoramic pop, an influence aided by Suggs' vocal resemblance to Ray Davies, and drawing comparisons to a considerably cheerier Elliot Smith. Country tinges and mandolin traces of a Mediterranean influence colour his sound - sometimes all in the same song ("The Rambler vs. The Vulture/Devil's Dance"). Apparently Suggs was about to retire after Butterglory, but he clearly has plenty of inspiration left. (Merge)