It is easy to say that Matthew Frederick is a busy man. Not only is he the frontman for the band Climbing Trees, half of the duo Hazel & Grey but he also runs his own label called Staylittle Music. While keeping all these wheels turning, he has been able to assemble his debut solo album Fragments. To do so, he locked himself away in Mwnci Studios between February and December 2019. During this time, he put together a collection of songs which he wrote, recorded, and played each instrument used throughout the release.
The album begins with the beautiful “Leave the Light On”. It has an effortless feel which is brought to life by the various layers of musical instruments, especially with his piano. When he vocals join in, it adds so much to the tone of the song. Following up is the captivating “Laura Jones” which Frederick’s storytelling qualities shine, as they do during “High”.
As the album continues, the gentle flow of Frederick’s music becomes a familiar trait. It is clear to hear throughout “Tell Me” and “Dust Cloud”. Both highlight his talents using various musical instruments, including guitar, piano and harmonica. He layers them all together to create a compelling soundtrack. Then we arrive at the first instrumental moment called “Timelapse”. It enforces his ability to weave an atmospheric sound which is supported by his impressive fingerpicking guitar style. It all comes together to paint an audio landscape with excellent depth.
Of all of the songs on offer, it is “Pink Blossom Snow” which stands out the most. It features all of the elements which make the music by Matthew Frederick essential listening. Its delicate piano intro sets the mood before his vocals come in. His gentle tone starts the story with the lines “Pink blossom snow / Falling down to the ground / As I walk on home / I picked a daffodil / Put it on the window-sill / All alone”.
The combination of his voice and keys float along so effortlessly as he shares his word to perfection. He excels further towards the end of the song, when there is a repeated bunch of lines which include “These flowers / Falling down from the trees / Oh, please let me forget you”. There is something special about the soothing nature of his voice that is a pleasure to hear.
Matthew Frederick’s assembles the perfect collection of songs to make his debut essential listening
“Hay-on-Wye” offers more of Frederick’s trademark sound while the title track brings the second instrumental moment. The album finishes on another high note with “Morning Smile”. He sets the mood with the use of his piano and guitar. Soon, his soothing voice comes in with “I, I would drive all through the night / As the darkness fades to light / Just to see your Morning Smile”.
Frederick’s storytelling quality continues to shine, along with his guitar. It stands out further with the arrival of the chorus. The way he delivers the lines “And she gives me, she gives me, she gives / All that I need / All that I need / Whenever I see her Morning Smile” is outstanding. As the song comes to a close, it offers yet another beautiful instrumental.
Fragments is a wonderful collection of songs, assembled without restrictions and love for the craft. Each moment feels free and effortless, giving it a compelling quality. Matthew Frederick should be proud of his debut album as it perfectly reflects his musical talents. It is a release that does not disappoint.