There's been a fair wait for this, Scott Matthews' second album, and it's set to surprise some fans of the first album as, although the songwriting is at least as good and at times more mature than on his debut 'Passing Stranger', the mood is markedly different. To a large extent the eclectic and occasionally hippy-ish vibe of the first album is gone, and instead we have more of an introspective tone, at times world-weary and bitter.
This is an old fashioned album, in the sense that it's a mood piece and is not trying to be a radio-friendly unit shifter. It's an album that richly rewards repeated listens, as the sophisticated and subtle melodies reveal themselves. Much of it is very beautiful indeed. The decent first single 'Fractured' is, for my money, the weakest track on the album, while the astonishing 'Up On the Hill' is perhaps the finest thing he's ever written.
Lyrically too, there has been a leap forward. Where his lyrics were once consistent with the odd great couplet, there are now several superb sets of song lyrics. Overall, he seems to have found his own groove, with those often name-checked influences merely a slight and subtle part of the tapestry, serving something altogether more unique.
Absolutely spellbinding live, too.