Apples and Orphans
Big Bicycle Music

For some time now, Matt King has been pegged as an artist with a must-see live show — an endorsement that tends to overshadow his albums. But those albums are very much indispensable companion pieces, and his latest is no exception.  Apples and Orphans revisits King as the Boardwalk Empire meets O Brother, Where Art Thou character too sly to be a barker and too bold to go unnoticed. His vaudevillian steam-punk style is like no one else in “Texas country,” the generic lump term people may erroneously file this album under. There’s just too much going on here. It’s a listening experience where something new arises in each play. Perhaps it’s too busy for some, or maybe even too dark, with songs like “Shotgun” where King announces, “I got a shotgun and I’m no good/A mind is a dangerous neighborhood.” So for anyone averse to music that breaks convention, steer clear. But for more open-minded lovers of music and songwriting as an art form, this is an exciting album to play repeatedly. King’s fans accustomed to his singular sound from his previous albums and live shows will be pleasantly greeted by their favorite sideshow performer. — CODY OXLEY

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