Matt (The Brigadier) Williams is sure to garner attention this year. His latest, “The Rise and Fall…” is a highly addictive and intelligent pop album. The narrative pop style is rooted in the work of McCartney and Ray Davies, but with soft gentle vocals closer in sound to Sean O’Hagen of The High Llamas. If you enjoy a burst of pop creativity, you’ll flip over the opening track “Growing Up is Hard to Do Part 1” which compares favorably to Bryan Scary. It shoots out a bouncy beat and handclaps to the lyric “One day I’m playin‘ with computer games… watchin‘ your youth go up in flames, so do you say no surrender?” This is an excellent beginning and leads to the dream-like mid tempo love song “When Will I be with You” which evokes a mix of Roger Waters and Aztec Camera with acoustic guitar strum and piano. “The Language of Love” is quirky piano number with a breathy vocal and rich chorus. The theatrical bend to the album not only compares well with Bryan Scary piano work, but also Genesis’ Steve Hackett guitar arrangements. The songs flow easily from the slow heavy organ depression of “Envy” to the music hall style of “Une Soiree” — it’s mesmerizing and the entire album will demand repeat listens. The utterly amazing “This, is why…” has a catchy hook, with a 70s era style similar to early Elton John. “The Box in the back of My Mind” gets in touch with it’s inner Raspberries and is my favorite track. The ending “Growing Up is Hard To Do Part 2” has a Kinks meets Beach Boys vibe. Don’t miss this brilliant album, as I will now want to examine The Brigadier’s past albums. It makes my top ten list too – lots of great pop this year!