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Mattafix - Rhythm & Hymns

Mattafix, Rhythm & Hymns

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

HAVING toured over 30 countries and sold records everywhere from South Africa to Australia during their self-imposed hiatus Mattafix now return with their sophomore album Rhythm & Hymns and a deliberately moved on sound.

Explains Marlon Roudette: “We’ve kept the positive element from the first record [Signs Of A Struggle], that laidback sound. But touring is a great opportunity to see what rhythms affect people. Your sound starts to evolve in a different way.”

The ensuing album mixes dancehall, indie-rock, chillout and political message-making with an easygoing vibe that’s in keeping with the inspiration behind their name, “no problem”, or “matter fixed”.

Throughout, there’s a sunshine vibe attached, whether it’s the reggae vibe of songs like In The Background (a chilled out highlight), or the calypso feel of Angel, which includes some nice, lazy guitar riffs running throughout.

Assured, too, is the contrast offered by Marlon’s dancehall style vocals and the various guest female vocalists, who often enrich proceedings with their Morcheeba-style quality.

Highlights include the aforementioned In The Background, the socially aware Living Darfur, which is well worth paying attention to and gracefully blends its African influence with a wake-up call to the world, and Stranger Forever, which drops one of the most easygoing melodies on the LP and heightens the contrast between the male-female vocalists.

In My Life boasts a nice alt-country kind of vibe that’s also endearing and Far From Over draws the album to a suitably sultry, chilled out close.

There are some moments that fail to resonate as strongly. Album opener Shake Your Limbs is one of the few moments the politics and even anger at global concerns threatens to overpower, while tracks like Got To Lose and Freeman fail to carry as much of an impact – lyrically or musically.

Memories of Soweto, meanwhile, is a real fusion of world music influences that’s sure to broaden musical awareness without necessarily emerging as one of the LP’s strongest moments.

On the whole, though, Mattafix’s return is well worth taking notice of.

Download picks: Living Darfur, In The Background, In My Life, Stranger Forever

Track listing:

  1. Shake Your Limbs – Mattafix & Zola
  2. Living Darfur
  3. Angel
  4. In The Background
  5. Things Have Changed
  6. Stranger Forever
  7. Freeman
  8. Got To Lose
  9. In My Life
  10. Memories Of Soweto
  11. Far From Over