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Mat Riviere - Follow Your Heart

Mat Riviere, Follow Your Heart

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

NORWICH-based solo artist Mat Riviere is widely tipped as one of the next big things for 2010, with the NME leading the fanfare surrounding him by calling his music “genius bleak pop”.

His formula is pretty simple. Organ and looped Casio pile into clanking rhythms and a despondent set of vocals. It’s occasionally haunting, very occasionally catchy but – in this reviewer’s humble opinion – also pretty dreary listening.

Riviere is to be applauded for his “go for it” approach and determination to succeed on his own. But the grouchiness alluded to in his PR is evident in his songwriting approach and most songs are mired in depression.

Former single FYH, which somehow managed to receive 1,500 downloads in just a few days via the RCRD-LBL site, and was debuted on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens, is one of the exceptions.

A stark guitar riff combines with handclap beats and a decent set of vocals to create a vaguely appealing record, complete with catchy chorus. But Riviere’s gruff vocal delivery is already a bit of a problem.

When set against the minimalist Casio throb of Pause, or the irritating organ hum of Castroreale, they become droning and depressing.

A track like Evening Drive, meanwhile, haunts by virtue of the echoed, atmospheric Casio sound underpinning it, but depresses even more thanks to a chorus that repeatedly says “you’ve never known the evening drive, you’ve never known the back of his fist in the winter”. Cheery!

If you were being ambitious with praise, you could suggest there’s a Cosmo Jarvis or Beck-like approach to the way in which Riviere approaches his craft – albeit with none of the charm (save for brief moments such as Lampligh or Slugs And The Dust).

The end result is an LP that arrived with plenty of recommendations endorsing Riviere as the next big thing, but which sadly failed to capture this reviewer’s imagination even a little bit.

Download picks: FYH, Lamplight, Slugs and The Dust

Track listing:

  1. FYH
  2. Pause
  3. Castereale
  4. Take My Sums And Add Them
  5. Evening Drive
  6. Slugs And The Dust
  7. Godless Girl
  8. Curse These Eyes
  9. Give In, The
  10. Out Of Three
  11. Lamplight
  12. Never Rest Again