The multi-talented Benjamin Lazar Davis is best known for his work with indie superstars like Joan As Police Woman and Okkervil River and Nothing Matters marks his first solo venture. The story of the album is the stuff of bohemian wet dreams: recorded after a period of extensive touring and of course the obligatory breakup, Davis spent all his money on buying instruments and equipment, before returning to his parents' home to record in his childhood bedroom. Nothing Matters is filled with the innocent wonder and adolescent pondering that come from returning to a place of serenity and security, and that's part of the problem. The album often struggles with being too comfortable musically, when you want it to feel like you've been beaten up by the playground bullies.
A Love Song Seven Ways is a typically indie track filled with rose-tinted lyrics like 'candy apple sun'. This ability to see beauty in the world, even in moments of heartbreak and adversity characterises the album and Davis' abilities as a writer. The way he adds layers of contrast to his music to create meaning is part of what has made him so in demand as a producer. Tracks like Life Is Dangerous, and Lies epitomise this innocence in his music and but it all gets a little too dreamlike after a while. Vocally his high tenor exudes something of the man-child. The meaning behind Choosing Sides is admirable, but his pacificity becomes draining. His high, waif-like singing is as ethereal as his music and often comes across as tired; as if he'd like to pull the duvet over him until it all goes away. Even on gutsier tracks like Somebody's Speaking For Me, you yearn for him to shake off his self-pity and grab the song by the short and curlies, but it never materialises.
It feels that for whatever reasons he spends most of the album licking his wounds and not enough time fighting back. 'All my fires were gone' he exhales at the end of the track, and it feels as if the spark has gone out of Davis for most of the album when it could benefit from a good stoking.
Groupie Rating 3/5