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

Robert Plant: Carry Fire (Nonesuch/Warners)

Robert Plant: Carry Fire (Nonesuch/Warners)

It's salutary to think that Robert Plant has now been out of Led Zeppelin for more than three times longer than he was in it. It should mean that references to that former life should have... > Read more

Old Crow Medicine Show: Live at the Orange Peel and Tennessee Theatre (Shock DVD)

Old Crow Medicine Show: Live at the Orange Peel and Tennessee Theatre (Shock DVD)

The rocked-up country-cum-bluegrass outfit haven't ever fully convinced on CD, although the best of their previous outing Tennessee Pusher certainly explained why they are such a potent live act.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

FRANK a film by LENNY ABRAHAMSON

FRANK a film by LENNY ABRAHAMSON

Not many people know that when Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band were recording their classic and sometimes frightening album Trout Mask Replica in '69, the good captain (Don Van Vliet) kept... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JOHN O'BRIEN finds a pop biography surprisingly worth reading

GUEST WRITER JOHN O'BRIEN finds a pop biography surprisingly worth reading

Pop quiz: Which famous face appeared the greatest number of times as cover star of UK teen pop bible ‘Smash Hits’ during the magazine’s most successful decade – the... > Read more