Rarely does it seem that even contemporary folk releases on the indie scene wear their hearts on their sleeves as wholly and evidently as Twisted Oak’s Cold Coffee and Half Smoked Cigarettes. Its influences and central themes are presented right on the tin, by its moniker; the project’s Matt Batory intends for the EP to be an exercise in expressing evocative stories centered around the idea of moving on from one’s vices. In the wake of pushing away caffeine or nicotine addiction, then, would be cold coffee and half-smoked cigarettes. Less on-the-nose and more replete with a scintillating rawness, the New Jersian singer-songwriter’s latest collection of songs are intimately conversational and honestly reflective.
Batory has improved on his vocals, as well, as much being evident as he soars on the bridge of album opener ‘Come Back to Me’. Better than exercise these strengths en masse, however, the artist knows how to express himself more vividly through a dynamic presentation. These are tales of moving on, and knowing that as intimately as he knows it is his greatest strength. The bard seems to effortlessly communicate his stories with a personal closeness not yet tapped into by many names far better known than Twisted Oak, and it makes for a raw, sweet collection of tunes that are easy on the ears while being all the more poignant when you pay them real heed.
Like Batory himself moves on throughout the course of the stories he tells here, readers might best move on to pay his newest EP a listen. It’s an effective shoulder to lean on, universally empathetic in the way it has been woven whether Batory had quite intended it to be or not. In writing something so deeply for himself and his reflections on the need to push on and away from a possessive love, he’s recorded something for everyone to relate to. That is special.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm (@jfrahm_)