John Matthias: Stories From the Watercooler (Counter)

 |   |  <1 min read

John Matthias: I Will Disappear
John Matthias: Stories From the Watercooler (Counter)

No one sang stuff like this at any watercooler of my acquaintance, but maybe that's because socio-political folktronica is hard to pull off without accompaniment -- and edgy violin solos just don't sound right when hummed.
Matthias is a mate of Radiohead's Thom Yorke and some have drawn a line between this album and Yorke's abrasive solo album The Eraser of a couple of years back.
I'm not convinced that's entirely appropriate -- Matthias is much more folk-pop and also isn't averse to a little early 80s techno-rock effects (the album is produced by Coldcut). What both share is a seriousness of purpose however and here Matthias offers songs such as Viper's Nest, Police Car, Blind Leading the Blind, Stockwell Road (about the police shooting of the suspect terrorist in a London Tube) and One Sunny Morning in the No-Fly Zone.
This can be uneasy listening (in King of a Small Town a suspicious -- if not paranoid -- local keeps a menacing eye on a big city interloper) and not always successful as he overplays his emotions in a couple of places.
The best are the uneasy, spare and emotionally flat ballads where their concerns are all the more chilling.
An acquired taste I suspect.

Share It

Your Comments

wootwoo - Dec 12, 2009

John Matthias Website:
http://www.johnmatthias.com

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble has been one of the most interesting and innovative musical explorers of the past few decades but, as I discovered in '96 at the time of this interview – he does it mostly... > Read more

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

The previous volume in this series (see here) sold eight times platinum which proved two things: that well packaged and intelligently compiled collections of New Zealand are popular and in short... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MELBOURNE'S GRAFFITI ART (2015): Take a walk on the multicolour side

MELBOURNE'S GRAFFITI ART (2015): Take a walk on the multicolour side

When Chris Hancock talks about his friends, mentors and inspirations, it sounds like some weird code. In short order he ticks off Dem189, Nost, Ha-Ha, Adnate, ELK, Rone and Steen Jones . . . who... > Read more

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

As two Lennons and any number of Marleys might tell you, it isn’t easy carrying the name of a famous musician father, especially if you want a career in the business yourself. Certainly... > Read more