A bit like the Mounties we always get a CD reviewed, even if the sounds of the launch party and the promotional tour are long forgotten. We’ve got all Scott Matthews’ CDs — one we even bought — and always found him a little frustrating. Clearly a talented songwriter, he always seemed to hide his talent under a slushel, a word we just made up but it means a slow bushel. On paper he always looked interesting, on CD it never quite matched up; it’s all a bit too slow.
He has his diehard fans who probably say it’s meaningful and intense, and he’s had record company issues that have slowed him down, but he’s never hit the big time; several albums in, he’s still playing clubs. It can’t just be us finds it a little slow in places.
This album is much better, but he’s still not hit peak Matthews. It’s more interesting and meaty, somewhere between classic Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter and the soundtrack to a soppy movie set in Portland, Oregon. In places his voice sounds a bit Rufus Wainwright.
Opener Drifter is good, an upbeat acoustic song that’s a bit CSNY / Bread, with interesting instrumentation. The Rush is pure rootsy Americana; Black Country Boy suggests an interesting blues song is on its way but it’s only an interlude.
Stay In Bed is one of the slower acoustic songs that manages to sound mystical and is followed by Guardians Of Sleep, which picks up where Stay In Bed leaves, but speeds up. This turn of pace continues into The Lantern Flower, one of the standouts, though the flute at the end could turn you either way.
He’s still a bit slow in places (Where I Long To Be, Two Entwined) but fans will regard this as depth. The lyrics are as close to poems as songs get. The Rush opens “My procession of emotions / Walk with me hand in hand / There’s a nervous commotion as I reach out my hand.”