Album: Luke Temple <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Hold a Match for a Gasoline World, FARGO
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Introspective troubadour Luke Temple has been compared to everyone from Paul Simon to Sufjan Stevens, but the closest would probably be Elliott Smith. The undertow of melancholy coursing through this album bursts out to spread insecurity and self-doubt across songs with titles like "Private Shipwreck" and "Mr Disgrace", reaching its apogee on "To All My Good Friends, Goodbye", in which Temple contemplates suicide with an equanimity bordering on eagerness. But it's hard to imagine him following through; contemplating the Sisyphean nature of life in "In the End", he conjures up images as vivid as "Drunks on the streets/ Tie chains on to misery's gates" and "We're pulling our wagons/ Filled with our prizes and shames". The settings employ subtle blends of acoustic guitar, fluting mellotron, sax and, on the opening "Someone Somewhere", a jaunty polka of pump organ, piano and clarinet. Temple's voice and melodies are not as uniformly strong as they should be, but overall this is an accomplished debut effort.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Someone Somewhere", "In the End"