reviewed by Laura Stanley
For a couple of years now, the Bandcamp link to Raven Shields’ Matches has been bookmarked on my browser. I think my trusted friend recommended Matches to me but it kept getting buried in my to-listen pile – the books on my to-read pile also suffer from this sort of neglect.
Matches is like the rich ember that blossoms from the album’s namesake. Throughout the record Shields (alongside Aaron Comeau and Joshua van Tassel) plays with country and folk elements to make the record feel as cozy as a fire on a winter’s day. “Take Me Home” has a “Down By The River” vibe to it but lighter and more playful, “Fox” leaves deep tracks in the snow thanks to Van Tassel’s forceful drumming, and “Old Pine” is a cabin in the middle of the woods that ready for you to hibernate in until spring.
Elsewhere, it’s Shields voice that illuminates Matches. “Tonight” is an ode to a long distance relationship that focuses on the sweet and tender moments and Shields beautifully balances the joy and sorrow of a quick visit. “Badlands” is a quick track that sizzles. It’s a sexy one about getting down and dirty and there’s flirty guitar riffs throughout to add a little extra seduction – a standout for sure.
Don’t be a fool like me and bookmark this review and get to listening to this EP in a couple of years. Light it up now.
Top Track: “Tonight”; “Badlands”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)