Chamber pop was founded by artists like Matthews. This was his first offering and it needs to be put into context. it was released in 1995 on the sub pop label. Now that's something to consider. Sub Pop at the time were about to merge with Warners, their main output was Grunge (they released Nirvana's first album after all) and this was very different. Charming, pop and not always mainstream this was an album of beauty and thought and flew in the face of all that.
Fanfare was released as a single to some MTV airplay but little commercial impact. Its horns, hushed vocals and very twisty melody wasn't easily accessible for some. But it has a quality to linger. Horns, the kind you might hear in a brass band, are all over this album as is piano. But so is a unique ear for melody. You won't always be able to tell where the tune is headed from the first bar and sometimes it changes direction mid-way. However, tracks like Forging Plastic Pain, Lust Takes Time and Fried Out Broken Girl linger long after. This is a mature début offering and really works well on repeated listens. Its haunting, beautiful and somehow full of joy.
Matthews went on to more solo albums and more recognition for Cardinal. However, this début is worth checking out.