Who Is Matt Costa?
Now on his third album, its still surprising that not many people even know of this singer/songwriters' existence. Born in 1982, the artist is a Myspace mainstay, but his talent has spread through word-of-mouth, not to mention his endless touring and performing on the indie concert circuit.
Three Artists who I can instantly compare Costa to, should give you some idea of what his music sounds like : Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, and the Beach Boys. Of the three, Costa is most similar to Johnson. In fact, on some tracks, the instrumentation and vocals are so eerily similar to Jack Johnson, but unlike him, Costa doesn't rely so much on the beach vibe. Which is probably a good thing. If you're a close observer of the indie music scene, and know names such as Jose Gonzalez and Devendra Banhart, then you should know that Matt Costa sounds very similar to those artists as well.
With a schoolboy voice that admittedly has a limited range, Matt primarily sings of love and life, all set to folk tunes that at times veer toward alternative rock (ever so slightly). So yes, this predominantly slow, mood music that is very much in the vein of "Coco" by Colbie Caillat. For example, listen to "Lilacs" and "Vienna" (the two best tracks on the record). This is clear, sunny, 1960s tinged folk-pop with that 'feel good' factor. Its light, frothy and inoffensive, and absolutely apt for a lazy Sunday at home.
However, in terms of sonic soundscapes, I found that this album was very similar to Norah Jones "Not too Late", in that it got very tedious and 'same-sounding' towards the end. "Bound" and "Heart of Stone" for example, are songs full of good intentions, but its hard to not reach for the 'next' button when these songs are on. Other than this minor quibble, the entire album is rather enjoyable.
Perhaps the most inspiring track, overall, is "Miss Magnolia", a relentlessly upbeat, wordless chorus song with a harmonica and banjo at centerstage. This lovely instrumental piece ends the album on a high note - it would have worked very well as album opener as well.
Matt Costas' "Unfamilar Faces" may not change the way you look at music, but its a fantastic piece of fresh indie music with soul. If you're a fan of folk-rock, acoustic-rock, or even some bluegrass, you should pick this up. There are at least four quality songs here that are worth your money.