Gambles is Matthew Siskin, a New York sophisticate wearing black, brandishing a guitar and howling to the moon. His album, 'Trust', has recently been released on his own label, GMBLS, and whilst it won’t change the world, in its own small way it might make you feel something. He’s been recorded as saying that when Gambles started he was writing to his then wife, with whom he had lost a child. So the stripped back aesthetic of the album, (vocals and guitar, reverb, empty space and plenty of pathos) is essentially a reflection of raw emotion. Contained within the four walls of each small-scale set-piece are the bare remnants of Siskin’s feelings- the prevailing ethos of the album is honesty. 

Highlights include 'So I Cry Out' and 'Trust', songs that have powerful, simple melodies and are carried along by Siskin’s soaring, husky tone. The video for the former is worth a watch, in which he acts out a blossoming romance alongside his real-life girlfriend Brittany Nola, and is a little like an except from a Drake Doremus film. 

There is, undoubtedly, a lack of variety in the album, which rocks along slowly and steadily, but the positive of that is that if you want to become embroiled in it, you really can- and most probably will. Over the course of the thirteen tracks, Siskin’s world-weary voice becomes familiar, welcome light in the dark, rustic soundscapes carved out by his guitar. The album clearly channels the oeuvre of Leonard Cohen, and whilst Siskin is someway yet from conveying the gravitas of Cohen’s work, he’s still produced an album full of strong, simple melodies and warm, almost tangible guitar strumming - worthwhile listening and a fine accompaniment to cold autumn nights.

Words: Francis Blagburn 


AuthorDuncan Harrison