Matt Boroff is having a rough time on Sweet Hand of Fate. He spends the album shoveling dirt, falling through the sky, wandering blind through corridors, scraping along the bottom of a pond, and literally throwing his life away. Fortunately, his misery is backed with a sonic onslaught of classic rock crunch and Bonham drums (“Lost”, “Here in Limbo”), black & white psychedelic swamp voodoo (“Filling in the Cracks,” “My Black Heart”), even twisted doo-wop distortion (“Going to the Hypnotist”). He occasionally worships at the altar of Cave and Waits, and he makes a pretty good go of it, adding a touch of compassion to his weathered melodies, even if his voice lacks the gruff despair to pull off lines like, “I’ve been a fool, a saint, a sinner and a blind man / …my past is a book that I threw in the garbage”. When he’s in his zone, though, like the creepy, multi-octave “X” and plodding closer “Turns Me On,” he really scores. If the journeyman reaches too far into the dusty corners of his life from time to time, he’s still making interesting music, especially when he steps away from his Cult-on-‘ludes grooves and into noisy, urgent material like “Up Up Up in Flames” and the majestic title track. “All I can do is repeat myself,” Boroff laments on “Here in Limbo”, but nobody’s complaining.
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