The work of Chattanooga musician Matt Green is loosely woven and constructed of collected folk debris and lo-fi indie rock noise. Under the moniker of Lip Parade, he fashions these pieces together into a stirring and coherent wash of sound and emotion. It’s easy to spot the influences: Beach House, Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes. But that doesn’t mean his music is predictable or easily labeled; in fact, his songs have always possessed a rather formidable elusiveness, the kind of mercurial personality that appears and disappears in its own time and inclination.
Across his past releases, he’s hung a series of folk harmonies, singer-songwriter narratives and indie rock tonality on a blank rhythmic canvas, creating a purely expressive musical statement. Adding touches of baroque pop and psych rock to his oeuvre on occasion, Green allows his music to unfurl at its own pace and temperament. Hushed vocals and heavily strummed acoustic guitar lay themselves out as thudding drumbeats cascade around the edges of his tracks. He even ventured beyond Lip Parade for a time, creating the alternate moniker of Tiny Fig Leaves to work out some songs that didn’t quite fit into the Lip Parade mold.
But with the release of his latest EP, “Celestial Kites,” Green combines all these delirious sounds and patterns into a brief but detailed set of six songs that explores every nook and crevasse of his influences. There’s a sense of his wanting to pay homage to these specific inspirations, and he does so in a way that’s reverent while still putting his own stamp on the material. Album opener “Our Great Demise” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Fleet Foxes record, with its pastoral harmonies and lacelike folk arrangements. But he’s not simply stepping on the shoulders of bands who obviously mean a great deal to him—his songs evoke their own identity and reveal the numerous ways his creativity has evolved since he first began releasing music.
Other tracks such as “Baby With Blue Eyes” and “Stand Your Ground” are less about inherent fragility and more about flexing some serious indie rock muscle. They still roll with a spry melodic gait, but Green enhances their folksy nature with a noisy momentum that delivers a satisfying jolt when you least expect it. Ending with “Black Balloon,” a song that splits its attention between some gentle acoustic plucks and shivering synth lines, the album eases us back to reality and sends us on our way. There’s a maturity that speaks to his ability to filter and rearrange his influences without becoming burdened by their density. As its title suggests, “Celestial Kites” certainly has its heart somewhere among the stars and planets, but its emotional connections dig deep into the heart of our relationship with the world we currently inhabit.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.