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Matt Corby - Telluric (Review)

Matt Corby, Telluric

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE debut album from Matt Corby has been a long time in coming and even underwent a lengthy transition. But now that it’s here, it proves worth the wait.

The singer-songwriter was actually on course to deliver his debut album two years ago, following the release of his acclaimed Brother single and after he signed to Atlantic Records. But, disliking the results, he scrapped the entire thing and retired from the scene.

His aim was to become self-sufficient in every aspect of the recording process, as both a means of regaining control and salvaging his confidence, which had reached rock bottom. He wanted to know he was good enough to make his debut record.

No one knows what the original set of recordings would have sounded like but, undoubtedly, there is a maturity in this ‘new’ sound that’s difficult to resist, particularly in the way Corby combines his silky smooth, jazzy vocals with psychedelic synths and more jazz laden beats.

Indeed, one of the most notable aspects of the album is the way in which Corby has delivered some notable instrumentations – a sort of late night feel that hints at something edgy but also sexy.

The beat arrangements on Oh Oh Oh, for instance, are something that an artist like Bonobo would be proud of, and sit nicely along a smooth groove chorus that offsets some of the more angsty elements of the lyrics.

Indeed, the smooth vocal style serves Corby well on several of the album’s highlights, whether on the bass-heavy, mood-laden elements of opening track Belly Side Up, which starts off slow and meaningful before then ushering in an almost jazz-meets-trip-hop sound (think Nightmares on Wax).

Former single Monday, with its finger click opening and aching vocal harmony, is another gem… and one that really thrives on its gospel tinged pounding drums, while the funky rhythms of Sooth Lady Wine help to deliver the album’s most accessible moment, complete with Motown-esque chorus and Bonobo-style beats. It’s a delicious concoction that’s instantly catchy, yet distinct enough to retain its own sense of style.

Just occasionally, there’s a sense that the album could use one or two more of those instantly radio friendly moments, and that it flirts with being a little too self-serious. Certainly, on tracks like Do You No Harm and Good To Be Alone, this is more apparent, with Corby either seeming content to embrace a similar style to the earlier songs on the album, which feels repetitive (as in the former), or going for the really slow build (the latter, albeit with distinct guitar work).

But even so, there’s still enough to really admire. We Could Be Friends, with its bluesy central guitar chug and Prince-like chorus, is another late highlight, while former single Knife Edge is shot through with style.

Corby can feel well satisfied that the difficult path to realising his dream debut has been worth it.

Watch the video for Sooth Lady Wine

Download picks: Belly Side Up, Monday, Oh Oh Oh, Sooth Lady Wine, We Could Be Friends

Track listing:

  1. Belly Side Up
  2. Monday
  3. Knife Edge
  4. Oh Oh Oh
  5. Wrong Man
  6. Sooth Lady Wine
  7. Do You No Harm
  8. We Could Be Friends
  9. Why Dream
  10. Good To Be Alone
  11. Empires Attraction