Big Apple bard Matthew Daniel Siskin - aka Gambles - is an acoustic folk singer-songwriter. Now, while that might normally set off big Jack Johnson-shaped alarm bells, don't fret, as Siskin is of a different ilk. Channelling dusty Southern US Americana and '60s greats such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, Siskin exposes the world to a different kind of folk revival, in a zeitgeist populated by Mumford Incorporated-alikes and/or Bon Iver style symphonic folk. This is barebones, skeletal music - just one man bearing a guitar and a few choice beliefs.

The debut from Siskin - entitled Trust - careens between a multitude of tones. The timbre is always relatively similar, after all, there's only so many ways you can twirl a voice and a guitar and still get folk, but even so, Siskin manages with an apparent ease to conjure a bouquet of varying sounds. Dynamics play a lead role in his music; sometimes, as is true on 'Animal', it's achingly quiet, forcing you to lean in and listen close, but other times, like on 'Angel', he croons to the rafters, singing into infinity. The other main way he ensures your attention doesn't waver is via his narratives, characters and lyrics.

On his rise to his current plateau, Siskin's backstory has been unveiled to the world. It's not a happy tale. It's a heartbreaking saga of drugs and alcohol abuse, of being married, being stuck in a life not his own, of divorce - referring to his ex-wife, he's noted personality flaws: "I wanted her to hate me. I did things to make her hate me. Because that would be easier than saying, 'I have to leave.' But I left. We had a huge fight. And I didn't come back. I just left." He's publicly recalled the tragedy of losing a baby and feeling his world shatter before his eyes. There's a candid interview with Esquire, for those wanting more details, but the general gist is that his life has been far from perfect, and that's what colours his music. Xanax and composing are his therapy. Things are back on track now, partially due to the catharsis that singing about his trauma brings, but that won't ever change the past.

'So I Cry Out', is built on simple blocks of softly strummed acoustic chords. It's Siskin's flawless vocals that provide melody and intrigue - the guitar is more a rhythmic tool - and the most prominent way he does that is by baring his battered soul: "If we had made what we tried to have, that boy or girl would have been so loved, would have had a Dad." 'Penny For A Grave', comes across like the theme for a '50s Western - stoic humming, rugged riffs and strained vocal chords subtly cracking are all hallmarks of the style. It's a great genre shift, even if it's only a slight one.

Siskin's debut isn't one built for dancefloors or parties or anything like that - he occupies a similar space to Elliot Smith or Nick Drake. Trust is a record stuffed with heavy emotion, and tales of despair, loss and love and life, told through simple but affecting songs. The tone is often pensive, even numb, but within all the pent-up anguish, you'll find it easy to love or even relate to Siskin - the music may be apropos to particular incidents in his life, but often you can transplant them to more personal matters, and that's a brilliant talent - he creates music that speaks to you, and you alone (or so it would feel). Trust is a thoroughly enjoyable first outing that, whilst not being the most original sounding, manages to burrow deep inside your mind.