STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155039-22810 LABEL: Inpop FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Ever since his debut album back in 2004 I've been a fan of the singer/songwriter from Eugene, Oregon, with his rich vocal style which at times resembles Chris Martin, his lyrical ability to conjure memorable images reflecting on the insights and mistakes involved in living in this complex world and his rare talent to find melodic hooks which cry out for radio play. Now to this list I need to add his masterly integration of hip-hop, rhythms, electronic bleeps and loops and spoken passages which are sometimes rap, sometimes slam poetry but always effective in taking the listener into his nostalgic recollections and musings on love, romantic and divine. Although this, Mat's fifth album, is unlikely to produce a hit song as big as 2007's "Nothing Left To Lose" it is for me the songsmith's finest work. There are several standouts. "Heartbreak Dreamer" features telling memories of the young Kearney setting out to follow his dreams with a "one way ticket on a one way plane develops into a tribute to the "heartbreak dreamers waiting for the light" and reaches its climax by seguing in the Shake The Dust poem by Anis Mojgani with its moving acknowledgement of the lost and broken. Equally powerful are the electro-driven "Moving On" which again takes a poignant look at times past ("We were young, we were brave/With our eyes wide shut in the choices we made"); "Let It Rain" with its distinctive Eastern flavour; and "Conversation", a memorable electro-folk song with a smokey vocal from Young Summer. Mat even manages to namecheck Amy Grant on the bitter sweet "One Black Sheep"! I'm convinced 'Just Kids' is an album I'll be playing for years to come.
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