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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 26 April 2006
In a few years time, when Scott Matthews is about to release his eagerly awaited third album, he will have stopped being shadowed by the inevitable Nick Drake / Jeff Buckley comparisons, and instead will have joined his influences on the 'my favourite artists' lists of music lovers everywhere. Because Matthews is too good a songwriter, too good a singer and too good a guitarist to be written off as a mere talented copyist. Here, on his first album, he shows that far from being retro, he is light years ahead of any other singer/songwriter in Britain today. Blunt, Tunstall, Gonzalez et al can go home now that the real thing has arrived and Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy and other US demigods can start keeping a seat warm for him at their table.

This is a stunningly accomplished debut, released on the new San Remo label and mastered by Ray Staff, who has worked with The Stones and Led Zepellin amongst others. Ten songs proper nestle amongst seven further short jams and interludes on a record so well mixed, arranged and sequenced that Arthur Lee might be able to pick up a trick or two from listening. Then there's the quality of the songs, as good as anything you will hear this year. Excellent upbeat openers 'Dream Song' and 'The Fool Fooling Himself' echo parts of Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'; the former's strings, tabla and infectious wordless chorus ensuring your attention wont waver a beat for the next 45 minutes. Thereafter the album's more pervasive mellowness dominates. 'Eyes Wider Than Before' is the sweetest of English folk and 'Sweet Scented Figure' crosses delta blues with Nick Drake.

The album peaks with its final perfect four-song run. 'City Headache' finds the narrator equating urban life to feverish illness, finishing in a French waltz. Debut single 'Elusive' is, quite simply, gorgeous and must make Matthew's girlfriend fall in love with him again every time she hears it, while 'Earth to Calm' finds his guitar picking transcending the mere mortal.

Bring on the next album, and bring it quick.
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on 15 July 2007
I bought this album purely on the strength of hearing the bloke at Glastonbury. Unforunately I didn't get to go to the festival but watched from the comfort of my own home.I was completely blown away by his sound. It reminds me of so many different artists; Neil Young, Gomez, Eddie Vedder(Pearl Jam), a little bit Led Zep. If you like mellow music to wind down to then I strongly recommend it
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2006
Having heard the single "Elusive" on a nameless radio station I was transfixed and just had to hear more of Scott Matthews. The album is well worth every penny. The music is blusey, folky, rocky and totally unique.There is not a single track on the whole album I dislike. The combination of his voice and the guitar are just fabulous. This album deserves to be a real hit (as it already is with me) and should become a classic. It's inspiring, relaxing, dreamy and exhilarating all at once. I can't wait to hear more from him.
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on 20 March 2007
Wow, that is all that can be said about this album. Scott's approach to his songs is masterful and not in any way pretentious. His songwriting doesn't pander to the mainstream (unlike many other solo artists these days). If you like acoustic guitar based music like myself then you will recognise that Scott is a truly talented player using a combination of styles including delicate strumming, slide and fingerpicking. The guitar playing is really mellow and loose and with Scott's laid back voice the whole scene blends together nicely. The arrangements have a dream-like quality, with multi-layered instruments including sitar, flute and tabla keeping things sounding insteresting. There are very few moments where the album sounds overly commercial.

There are a number of things that I really like about the presentation of the album, firstly he hasn't front loaded it with the better tracks, they are arranged in a way where high quality gems can be found throughout. The beautiful Elusive for instance is near the end where it can be looked forward to. White Feathered Medicine is also a personal favourite with some lovely string plucking and delicate melodies, this also comes toward the latter half of the album. With no less than 17 tracks you can easily take your pick of faves and leave the rest, you will still have yourself a full album of decent songs. I personally find listening to the whole thing right through to be an enjoyable experience.

Each song is really well written, and lyrically strong. You can tell that Scott has put a lot of thought in to all aspects of this album and the net result is something that you will want to play again and again.
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on 2 June 2006
Matthews is an incredible musician with obvious influences which he makes quite explicit. This is no more evident than in the very first chordal progression highlighted by a delicate vocal melody that could be present in any number of Jeff Buckley songs, particulalrly of Buckley's Grace. The second track however, interestinlgy so, is far more of the direction Buckley was taking as he prepared songs for his second, and ultimatley posthumous, record My sweetheart the drunk. Don't believe Matthews is a Jeff Buckley rip-off however, for with the passing of two Buckleyesque tracks is the far more continental Eyes wider than before a song in a similar vein as to what Jose Gonzalez is doing at the moment, particularly that song they use of his in that advert (forgive me for the vagueness). As you explore the rest of the album you'll get country, jazz and some refreshing use of the accordian. Matthews has composed a truly satisfying debut. Perhaps i say this because he often sounds like Jeff Buckley (whom i still mourn...well i like his stuff at least), both Vocally and musically, but also i hope because he is writing tunes that use the ideas Buckley explored but also himself introduces things he never even thought of, which is why it is so exciting. I would be very surprsied if Matthews didn't follow this in a few years with something that shows a greater amount of growth and individuality, for this record displays a truly intelligent, and importantly young musician.
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on 29 September 2006
Scott will tax the powers of the media to categorise him. He has shown a maturity of skill and choice in this selection of tracks that will bewilder and delight the listener. Of course, everyone will pick up the Ld Zepp influence on the minor guitar phrasing used to infill between tracks. This I particularly liked, just because a full-blown tune/song did not develop did not mean that the experiment should be hidden or lost to the listener.

Scott displays a true skill in choice of style, musicianship and singing virtuosity that will make us all sit up and take notice.

Long live change! Watch out for him!

Robert C Cooper (56)
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on 7 January 2008
The first Scott Matthews song i heard was Passing Stranger and i really liked the unusual sound. He reminded me a bit of Jack Johnson but more soulful. So i decided to go for the CD and, hand on heart, it's one of the best CDs i bought last year. Every song is so different but each with his unique mellow sound, and it never seems to get old. There are some really beautiful tracks, like Elusive, Eyes Wider Than Before and Sweet Scented Figure; and some rather surprising ones - the first time we came across Bruno Finale/Maurice we were in stitches!

I honestly cannot compare this to anything, i just suggest you have a listen. Hope you love it as much as i do!
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on 26 April 2006
If you only buy one album this summer make it 'passing stranger'. A truly amazing album by this fresh new artist. superb songs and fantastic production puts this record into my top 5 debut's, alongside Stone roses, suede and jeff buckley's grace.
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on 16 November 2006
What can I say the other reviews haven't.

Well, as well as Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, there are other echoes of the late 60's and 70's such as Led Zeppelin's quieter numbers. The album hangs together as a work beautifully, each part crafted nicely into a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts.

This is an album to listen to with headphones on or with a significant other in front of a nice warm fire with a bottle of your favorite tipple.

I tried to pick a stand out track and frankly, I can't. They're all good.

Tying with Ray LaMontagne's 'Till The Sun Turns Black' as best album of 2006 so far.
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on 16 March 2007
There isnt a song on the album that I dont now love. On first listen you fall in love with 'ellusive' and 'city headache' but as time goes on the whole thing grows to be a thing of love. A calm mixture of a man with beautiful passion filled voice and his guitar with fantastic occasional adds of slide guitar in country stylee, harmonica, tabla and some percussion thrown in for good measure. Every listen I hear something new.

I didnt get the Jeff Buckley comparisons truly until I saw him live and that is one of the most amazing experiences and puts the album on a whole new level.
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