Gambles – Trust
★★★★★ (out of 5 stars)
For New York City singer-songwriter Matthew Siskin, who performs as Gambles, simplicity is everything. One slowly strummed, down-tuned guitar. One resonant, room-filling voice. One lucid, penetrating line after another. And one echo-equipped microphone to pick it all up. Somehow, these bare-bones characteristics combine to make Trust, Gambles’ debut full-length, teem with possibilities. Where other troubadours traffic in shrouded metaphors and lyrical smoke and mirrors, Siskin maintains an aim that’s devastatingly straight and true. A miscarriage is plainly related on “So I Cry Out,” while failed love punctuates standout tracks like “New York” and “You Are Truth.” Album bookends “Angel” and “Animal” shed some light toward Gambles’ potentially optimistic future. And if you like downtrodden folk, Trust’s stark emotion feels revelatory. Yes, 13 songs of such nakedness can grate. But they also cut as close to the bone as modern music can.