Boomkat Product Review:
Zelienople's Matt Christensen tills a fertile mid-point between dream pop and alt country on "Constant Green". Gauzy, nostalgic bliss that's like Neil Young or Johnny Cash produced by Tim Friese-Greene and Brian Eno.
Growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, Christensen fondly remembers the constant hum of country rock blaring from car radios. Nameless, long-forgotten songs would melt into each other as he drove - no seatbelt - thru the American Midwest. "Constant Green" is his attempt to bring this mood into 2021, filtering it through the catalog of influences he's been exploring both in Zelienople and as a solo artist for decades. Adding dream pop, ambient and post rock elements, his resulting concoction is dark, lingering and romantic, and it's more far more alluring than simple, empty nostalgia.
Opener 'I Listen To Country Songs' lays out Christensen's message with stark clarity. Slide guitar from Zelienople's Brian Harding and keyboard from Eric Eleazer sits beneath faintly strummed guitar and Christensen's familiar vocals. But the sonic environment studio whizz Christensen creates is more like Talk Talk's "Spirit of Eden", Arthur Russell's "World of Echo" or Slowdive's "Souvlaki". This is country music, of a sort, but sprinkled with the subtle electronic processes that Tim Friese-Greene made his calling card.
Lush, layered ambience builds slowly on 'I Had A Vision That I Could Move Anywhere' like a distant police siren; 'Tenement Square' uses negative space like another instrument, allowing words to echo like a passing car; 'Constant Green' is beautiful and restrained, with distortion suggesting rock but turning the amp to -1. It's ineffably charming music, that builds an unsentimental narrative rooted in the American midwest, warts 'n all.