One of the benefits of lockdown, and yes there have been some, is that for those artists who can work and record remotely we’ve been treated to some very rich, new and original material which might never have been written or recorded if they’d had their normal commitments. ‘Isolation Tapes’ is one such little gem which we have Covid-19 to thank for.
Boasting 10 new songs, as the title suggests, entirely written and recorded during isolation this release must only consolidate Matty’s ability as a heartfelt singer-songwriter – a path which he continues to walk with some style in addition to playing bass in Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour. Admirably defying easy musical categorisation (always a bonus for those of us who like our music mixed), his solo output continues to offer much for fans of raw acoustic music in all of it’s most boisterously beautiful forms from swinging rockabilly through outlaw country, blues and rock to rogue folk.
Highlights (and there are many on this album) include the upbeat opener ‘Dangerous to Myself’ which continues Matty’s ability to have you singing along with the chorus before you know it (a regular feature of his work), the swinging and rolling ‘Guilty Party’, the emotionally raw ‘Say Nothing’, the joyous ‘Lonely Kind’ which will lift you up if you’re feeling down and put a smile back on your face, the sing-a-long-with-Matty ‘Someone’ and the haunting and intimate closer ‘No One Knows We’re Here’.
As a multi-instrumentalist Matty plays acoustic guitar, bass, drums, percussion and harmonica on this outing accompanied by Gary Pennick, his band mate from Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour, on guitars and backing vocals both of which always tastefully enhance without detracting from the quality of the song writing.
The album manages to sound both familiar and new, contains songs which are instant and others which will grow on you with every listen, and which would sound equally good played on an acoustic guitar in an intimate gig or played in full band electric mode with the house lights on and an audience on it’s feet.
‘Isolation Tapes’ is big on sentiment, it swings, it shouts, it will move you, and leave you with a few new friends in the form of songs you will want to listen to and sing along with badly glass in hand, again and again.
And if ‘Isolation Tapes’ leaves you wanting more, look no further than ‘4 x 4 x 1’ – Matty and Gary’s recent side project EP of country-influenced rock covers, played in their own inimitable style, joined by Simon Hanson (Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour and Squeeze) on drums. Starting with a boisterous cover of George Jones’ early ‘60’s Honky Tonk ‘The Race Is On’ followed by The Stones’ country-influenced ‘Dear Doctor’, ‘Ronnie Lane’s ‘How Come’ and EP closer Tom Waits’ ‘Old Shoes (and Picture Postcards)’. Hats tipped and glasses raised to both some great playing and exceptional taste in music.
The ‘Isolation Tapes’ and ‘4 x 4 x 1’ are both available on Bandcamp