New Amsterdams

For Lawrence resident Matt Pryor, one musical project isn’t enough to contain the abundance of heartfelt songs overflowing from his pen. Pryor uses his main band, the Get Up Kids, to exorcise his driving guitar-rock demons, but he slows down the pace with New Amsterdams’ stripped-down, rootsy riffage. In fact, despite the fact that Pryor enlisted the help of three other musicians for the third Amsterdams album, the charm of Wear lies in its simplicity.

Unadorned piano decorates the stardom-deriding “Hover Near Fame,” and warm waves of acoustic guitars drive the dewy folk lullaby “Hanging on for Hope.” Pump-organ instrumentals open and close the album like a pair of antique bookends. Though easygoing tunes dominate, Pryor kicks up the tempo for “Poison in the Ink,” which features the memorable line Your arrows don’t have poison, but they bruise. Wear‘s strongest points are Pryor’s honey-coated vocals and sweet reminiscences. Whether quietly encouraging (Are you hanging on for hope?/It’s all you got) or concisely descriptive of life on the road (We will never make load-in if the ephedrine don’t kick in), Pryor’s poetry demonstrates unparalleled wit and wisdom.

Categories: Music