Artist: The Spinning Game
Review by Jessi Roti – @JessiTaylorRO
The Spinning Game is the one-man band and brainchild of Matt Lester. A current resident of Humble, Texas, Lester combined his east coast/Pennsylvania self-assurance with “humble,” southern living. Uprooted, the result of Lester’s move, is the road warrior’s coming-of-age album. He seamlessly adopts a country stomp to his Dylan-esque drawl to create his own brand of roots rebellion.
Lester loops and layers his acoustic guitar across the EP's seven tracks, but fearlessly flexes his electric muscle to rev the album’s beat-up engine without it sounding out-of-place. “Don’t Call Me” features a brief but inspired flash of this deep understanding of song composition. “Salt” and “Plans” inject an infectious jangle to his folk-pop that is believable, not gimmicky.
Lyrically, no new territory is tread. Lester howls on “Khakis” that he’s more than his name, his family, his possessions, his fucking khakis. “Double Knot” explores the dichotomy between getting out and growing up, or realizing that no matter how much time you spend on the road, growing up is inevitable – but maybe not as you had previously imagined, which is relatable for anyone trying to live by their own definition of authenticity. His somewhat bleak lyrics aren’t inherently sad or negative, but honest, verging on unhinged. He’s not writing with anyone else’s feelings in mind but his own, because who else can live your life but you?
“California” is Matt’s loudest Dylan-echo, but not in a tribute-like way. It’s the gentility of it before the stormy screech of the harmonica. It’s this sort of finesse that inspires devotion as only true folk can.
Matt Lester is obviously a talented individual. In addition to writing and producing each track, he played every instrument on Uprooted. It’ll be interesting to see where he rides this folk-pop wave, and what he comes up with after being settled in one place.