Matt Berninger’s Voice on ‘Serpentine Prison’

Matt Berninger’s Voice on ‘Serpentine Prison’

Instead of a review, here is a bunch of ridiculous things being compared to Matt Berninger’s voice

On ‘Serpentine Prison,’ the titular single from Matt Berninger’s forthcoming debut solo album (out October 2nd on Concord Records), Berninger’s voice is like a family sofa that you remember fondly. It’s comforting and plush, a sofa that is somewhat lumpy perhaps, but still the kind of thing you can sink back into and be enveloped into. There is probably an unnecessarily large, black, cable-knit blanket draped over one arm of the sofa, that everyone fights over before reluctantly sharing. It’s evocative and nostalgic, this sofa, bringing to mind many memories of happy and sad moments that have surrounded it. It invokes memories of other sofas, as well, some that may have been more comfortable or luxurious or expensive but that feel wrong to compare. 

Berninger’s baritone on ‘Serpentine Prison’ is a back-scratcher, one of those long pieces of wood with the nubs of a bent fork at one end. It’s the perfect length to reach any troublesome spot with ease, and light enough to wield without your arms tiring. It’s comforting and satisfying, not just rubbing at the itch in a frustrating way, but really getting in there and bringing about immediate relief. It’s also not overly sharp or aggressive, like some back-scratchers can be. It is, this back-scratcher baritone, rounded and gentle without being coddling or ineffective.

Berninger’s harmonies on the single are pool floats large enough to lie down on. That doesn’t feel right, and there are plenty of issues with the comparison (plasticky harmonies? Rubbery and squeaky? Certainly not), but bear with me – you’ve made it this far. Berninger’s harmonies are lulling and gentle, they bob and flow softly across the surface of the water. They’ll get where they’re going, these pool floats, but they’ll get there slowly, rising and sinking gently up and down. It’s best to just close your eyes and allow yourself to slowly drift along to wherever they’ll take you, and hope the back-scratcher doesn’t puncture the pool float.

Extra points if the pool-float is somewhat sofa-shaped.