[29 April 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Last year, Matthew Daniel Siskin, who goes by the moniker Gambles, released the Trust LP, and now he’s out with a brand new four-song EP. The thing is this: it’s a quite bewildering listen. After opening track “You Won’t Remind It”, which features electronic instrumentation, the EP takes a sharp left turn into more folksier territory. The effect is rather jarring, but that shouldn’t take away from Gambles’ chops as a songwriter. However, this is an EP that rather grows on you, with each repeated listen adding new things and colours to the sound. While “You Won’t Remind It” is a rather dirge-y track that exceeds five minutes, and tip-toes ever so slightly into Interpol territory, it is still a worthy song full of ugly beauty.
However, after that, things take a turn for the more acoustic guitar strummed, which makes you wonder, just on the contents of this EP, which direction Gambles is going to go in. The Trust LP was said to be a much folksier affair, but Gambles, here, is experimenting with more electronic textures, at least on that first song, which makes you wonder if the artist is suffering from some kind of identity crisis. Still, “The Sea” is a nice shanty-esque song with a pretty melody. “The City’s Song” continues with the soft dynamics of the preceding track. And, finally, “Nola”, the shortest song, clocking in at less than three minutes, almost seems fragmentary. Still, despite the sharp corner that the artist takes from the first song and the rest of the EP, this is catchy stuff. Ear candy, if you will. This effort leaves you wanting to hear more of what this artist can do with his pen, even if it sounds like he’s rather unsure of which direction he wants to go in. That said, though, this EP is a gamble that generally pays off well.