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Letting The Darkness Go: Matthew Edwards & The Futurists’ “Kindness”

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“Whatever poet, orator or sage may say of it, old age is still old age,” Sinclair Lewis once wrote. And of course, he’s right, but our poets, orators and sages sure say it better than how it feels.

Our musicians aren’t too shabby at it, either.

The Birmingham-born Matthew Edwards, who, in his days as the frontman of the eternally magical Music Lovers chronicled the crooked cobblestoned paths of youth and the rickety avenues of  wrecked romantics better than anyone in the business, has other things on his mind these days. By no means an old man–quite far from it–but certainly an elder statesman of pop, on his new single “Kindness,” Edwards stares into the mirror and finds that instead of feeling bleak about the advancing of years, he’s feeling an unexpected lightness.

And he seems as surprised by this as anyone.

As a result, “Kindness” comes across like Morrissey in reverse; a delightful self-inventory that positions the lovable crank as the lovable optimist. The song is a straight-up banger, featuring angular guitars that grind deliciously away, brooding percussion that doubles as an affirming heartbeat and Edwards presiding over the proceedings with lines like, “Don’t be so moribund, honey,” and “You think the end is near/But I kind of think you’re just bluffing.”

Edwards’ voice has never sounded better and his phrasing has all the timing of Cole Porter and the delivery of Kevin Ayers or Grant McLennan. He remains as self-effacing as ever (“I had a way with words/Now I’ve found a way to say nothing”) and on this track Matthew Edwards has quietly–and boldly–reminded the world that he’s one of the most gifted songwriters on the planet.

All of this isn’t to say that on “Kindness” the curmudgeon is getting cuddly, but he’s certainly letting the darkness go and quite enjoying the feel of the sun on his face.