Matt Stevens 'Relic' review
I have to admit to wondering where Matt Stevens would go musically after his second album ‘Ghost’. I’m often disappointed with album number 3 from most artists and it takes the release of the fourth to restore my faith in them.
‘Relic’ isn’t at all what I was expecting overall and it’s taken rather a lot of listens for me to figure out what it is I’m hearing.
Within the first few bars of the first track ‘Nightbus’, you realise (if you know Matt’s previous work) that he hasn’t stuck with a safe and steady repeat of his first 2 albums.
‘Relic’ is unlike Matt’s previous albums, ‘Echo’ or ‘Ghost’.
The music on show here is from a musician who has grown as a performer/composer, while managing to combine the experiences of his other music projects ‘The Fierce and The Dead’ and ‘Yonks’, yet still create a solo album that sounds a little like Matt Stevens, but more of a Matt Stevens plus.
Covering a range of musical genres, listening to ‘Relic’ reminds me more of a film soundtrack than a straight forward album. The tracks don’t all flow very easily from one to the other and at times can feel like they are fighting each other for the right to be there, a bit like drunken relatives at a wedding.
That for me makes this collection of tracks more impressive than either of Matt’s previous albums.
Matt’s musical influences are easier to spot here than on his previous solo outings and the addition of the other instruments supporting his guitar playing compliment the overall sound thanks to great production work by Kevin Feazey and the inspired choice of musicians working with Matt on the album. Bass, programming, backing vocals and keyboards - Kevin Feazey, violin - Chrissie Caulfield and on drums - Stuart Marshall.
With ‘Relic’ you see the best of what being ‘independent’ can mean to an artist. The freedom to be brave, to go in a new direction, try something different , experiment with the music and step outside of the musical comfort zone. There isn’t the safety net of a record label to save you if it fails, but equally there isn’t the record company executives telling you what to do.
‘Relic’ is a great piece of work and I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the tracks are picked up for tv or film placement at some time in the future.
Anyone know a film producer looking for a ready made soundtrack?
‘Relic’ track list
4. 20 GOTO 10
5. Rushden Fair
8. Sand Part 2
10. 30 END