Words: James Frostick
Image: Tia W. / Glen Schenau

Brisbane’s crown prince of downer-rock Matt Kennedy is back with a new Kitchen’s Floor release. Two tracks from a now-scrapped 7″ have been released via a free online download – both tracks imbued with Matt’s desperation-tinged worldview that’s suitably characteristic of the times we are living in.

The year brings progressively abhorrent happenings and our country can’t do much about it except roll with the punches and endure as best as it can. If there’s anything Brisbane music scene fixture Matt Kennedy can do, it’s endure. Matt is the creative force behind Kitchen’s Floor – a musical outlet used to convey threadbare depression and suburban malaise. Since 2009’s Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress, Kitchen’s Floor’s back catalogue is littered with tracks about fraying mental health, loss, personal failure, societal decay and the monotony of living – conveying each downcast thought with a simplicity that makes every utterance somewhat poignant. Despite the ‘no-hoper’ lifestyle that Kitchen’s Floor suggests, Matt has carved out an impactful role as head honcho of label and distro Eternal Soundcheck, as well as a member of exciting Brisbane band Sorry Golden State, proving that ‘no-hopers’ aren’t ever entirely devoid of potential and growth.

That being said, it would be a jarring occurrence if Kitchen’s Floor suddenly pivoted to positivity. For this new two-track release, Matt is digging deeper into his bag of downcast musings, bringing forth two tracks that are exceptionally bleak. One of the tracks, ‘Before Dawn’ emerged early last year, and I wrote about it here. On this release, however, it’s been reworked – eschewing the percussive clatter and fuzz of electric guitars in favour of lethargic acoustic strum and a slurred monotone vocal delivery, which serves to emphasise its downcast subject matter. The other track ‘Expiry’ is entirely new to me, and seems to boast a similar sonic texture to ‘Before Dawn’ 1.0. A simple driving beat and a blasted and distorted synth dirge are the two main components of the track, like a chugging generator on the fritz. It’s hard to nail down exact lyrics as vocals are warped in the mix, but I feel like Matt is writing from an almost self-referential standpoint. He touches on his existence until now – wanting to break out of his situation and leave, but never doing it. Now, years on, the glimmer of a brighter future is extinguished. He almost scornfully addresses himself, asking ‘isn’t that what you wanted?’ If my analysis is accurate (disclaimer: it could be entirely off base), this is Matt at his most self-aware. ‘Expiry’ is commenting on the melancholy foundations of Kitchen’s Floor’s catalogue and the reputation it is built upon, and how maintaining such a standard of material causes harm in the long run. How do we move past our own history? How do we alter long-held self-sabotaging habits? How do we reignite the flame of a brighter future? Matt isn’t claiming to have the answers, but perhaps he’s finally asking himself the right questions.

Listen for yourself and let me know if you agree: