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Mat Hunsley is a 20-year-old Newcastle singer-songwriter gearing up to release his first single, today’s tip ‘Au Contraire’.  It’s bleak slice of menlancholia, sparsely arranged with just voice, acoustic guitar, and the barest ethereal chorus of backing vocal.  But the devil is in the detail here: Hunsley’s naked voice emotes nuggets of despair through pained lips, as would a messenger sent to alert us all to the futility of the human condition through the power of song.  Lyrics share a haiku’s analogical obsession with the seasons:

 I’m ready for the Autumn, oh so cavalier

I’m wounded in the battle, naïve to how it’ll feel

The obvious comparisons are with similarly pained singer-songwriters such as Damien Rice (come back Damien, all is forgiven!); Hunsley’s throaty voice bears a remarkable similarity to David Kitt’s, which is no bad thing.  Of course this is early in a young man’s career, so it’s difficult to know whether his tonal range stretches further than considered despair – he’d do well to match Kitt’s breadth of ability with electronica to leaven the mood.  However, an assured début, and a fantastic voice, so top marks so far.  By the way, if you bump into Hunsley moping along the street, give him a lollipop – it might cheer him up.

Tipped by Evolution Emerging

Words by Martin Sharman

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