Friday June 16/2006 (Happy B-day B-Wil)
Artist: Matt Mays
Album: Matt Mays and El Torpedo
I must say that Halifax has always been a place that has drawn me,
both physically and mentally, and if given the chance and the right
indicators, I would move there with my wife and take up lodging by the harbour.
That being said, I have a certain well-known bias for a certain sound that
eminates from that area with Matt Mays being a key contributor. Having
just recently picked up his first full length cd, I have a sweet taste for the
tunes that Matt Mays pumps out and this full length self-title with his new
band El Torpedo has won a lot of acclaim, both Canadian and internationally.
The songs are guitar-based and mellow rock driven, and occasionally
remind you of a young Tom Petty, but Mays has very much his own vocal
style - usually raspy but always full of passion and well-spoken. Like
a lot of Halifax rockstyle music, the meat is not only in the music but
in the words.
Mays is very 'hip to this jive' as his words always describe a personal
setting but in a very common form that all can appreciate - from the strum
first rangy, distorted chord of 'Stand Down at Sundown' , we are taken on
a journey into a world where you learn to 'get yourself gone...from now on'.
Obviously toting some heavy relationship woes, Mays wanders through
a landscape of sort of 'figuring things out' on a grand scheme, and with
the picture in the layout of the album, one can sense that he is someone
who draws alot of his energy and drive from nature. Mays also displays
an ability to 'rock out' with the pop hit 'Cocaine Cowgirl', portraying a serious
undercurrent and story of a tortured girl but with intense instrumentation
and fast drumming.Tracks like 'Good People' also bring us to an apex of
realization and strength, as we can sit back and realize the more important
things of life and not get so caught up in the fray of everything invalid and
This album also shows a few real human struggles as Mays battles with his
indie to spotlight status in the song 'On The Hood' as he talks about
wanting to just hang out with his friends and his girlfriend rather than
worry about his image, radioplay, public profiling and everything else
that gets attached to celebrity status. A good listen overall, though one
of my lame-music taste friends at work actually calls this album bland,
but I think it is really HE who is bland, but I can understand that there
are a few lulls in the slower tracks, but really, Matt Mays is doing what
he is most gifted at what he loves to do so how could we want it any
different. The rich instrumentation of pedal steel, guitars - both acoustic
and electric - and soundscape vocals makes you beg for more.9/10.