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Scott Matthews - Elsewhere

Scott Matthews, Elsewhere

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SCOTT Matthews made many friends and earned an Ivor Novello best song award for his debut album Passing Stranger. His follow-up, Elsewhere, looks set to enhance his rapidly growing reputation.

Matthews describes the songs on Elsewhere as coming from the feelings and emotions that so often dictate his state of mind. There’s a lot of brooding, a lot of intensity, and some beautiful moments as well.

There are times, too, when listening to the LP is as close as you can get to listening to Eddie Vedder, without listening to a Pearl Jam LP. The vocal similarities between the two singers are often startling.

But while Pearl Jam are hard-rocking, Matthews – who hails from Wolverhampton – is more prone to less thunderous compositions, opting to layer in strings, slow build to crescendos and just keep things moody and sometimes serene.

There’s a beguiling nature to his songwriting.

Album opener Underlying Lies is a strong case in point, a slow-burner of shimmering intensity that eventually gives rise to guitars and strings. It’s a song to reward repeat listens.

Jagged Melody, on the other hand, is slightly more serene, almost tender… a song of reassurance to a troubled soul.

Suddenly You Figure It Out is another that’s strikingly reminiscent of Vedder in vocal tone, but which offsets a brooding drum beat against some tranquil acoustic guitar licks. It’s quietly magnetic.

Admittedly, there are times when the melancholy nature of the songs threatens to become wearying, with Fractured and 12 Harps suffering from little variation in tempo, despite being strong songs in their own right.

But Matthews just about knows when to change gears and Speeding Slowly picks up the pace slightly and is one of the album’s firm highlights – his vocals drifting between Vedder’s tones and an almost falsetto chorus that’s soothing. It’s a song that benefits from a more upbeat melody, too, as well as some fine instrumental layering.

Into The Firing Line, meanwhile, mixes an insistent rhythm with some fine violins and guitars to create a more emphatic brooding rocker, before Up On The Hill slows things back down and casts a wise gaze over another tale of broken hearts.

Title track Elsewhere is among the most fragile tracks on the album, while Fades In Vain and Nothing’s Quite Right Here usher the album to a pensive close amid more soul searching.

Elsewhere may be a little too low-key for some tastes, and could probably do with a couple more tracks in the style of Into The Firing Line. But if you’re in the right mood for taking its journey, there’s plenty to admire and you won’t want to be elsewhere while it’s playing.

Download picks: Underlying Lies, Speeding Slowly, Into The Firing Line

Track listing:

  1. Underlying Lies
  2. Jagged Melody
  3. Suddenly You Figure It Out
  4. Fractured
  5. 12 Harps
  6. Speeding Slowly
  7. Into The Firing Line
  8. Up On The Hill
  9. Elsewhere
  10. Fades In Vain
  11. Nothing’s Quite Right Here