Eric Matthews - Too Much World

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2017-05-05

Eric Matthews is the godfather of Chamber Pop, although he would deny this and look to The Beatles and earlier examples.  In his breakthrough incarnation as one half of Carnival, their self titled debut was termed ‘Pet Sounds of the grunge age’, he delivered beautifully crafted pop that was inventive, precious and timeless.  His solo work has followed this well and he has worked with artists like Dandy Warhols, Elliott Smith and Pugwash amongst many to perfect the memorable pop tune.  His low tones and music that never quite goes in the direction you expect it to, should have received far wider an audience than it has.  So this new album, recorded a few years back now, is a welcome return to one of pop’s most consistent artists after a nine year break from solo recording.  Other projects may have come along in his recent past, including another much welcomed Cardinal album, but his solo work is always welcome and the twelve tracks here show that as an artist he is in good form, albeit that he is sounding a little jaded with the current state of play.

Flourishes of brass, indie jangle and jazz influences are heard throughout and alongside the silky smooth tones of Matthews’ voice, you have a slightly more direct but overwhelmingly tuneful album. Exactly Like Them is a hauntingly catchy number and he shows flair and style whilst the lyrics are as dark as anything on offer here.

Factual Extreme and Shadows Fall bog down proceedings slightly in the middle of the album as their slow pace seems to kill the momentum of a strong opening set of songs.  Ten More Masters is a heavy string laden number that stands out for its swooping string section, changes of pace that recalls Matthews solo debut, point and counterpoint vocals and a build into the final section that is as sweet and sour as adult pop can be.  The closing track is the title track and a strong percussion leads into the breathy vocal performance of the album.  It’s a beguiling finish that makes you hope it’s not nine years to the follow up album.

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