I swear I had the best of intentions of posting the review of the Adele show, but then I came across the video clip below, and my heart melted and swelled, all in the span of 3 minutes and 30 seconds (thanks to Joe.My.God).
Matt Alber is a wonder. As in, “I wonder why he’s not a household name already?” Oh, wait…quality singers don’t become household names in the real world. I could sit here and type up a witty little bio, but how ’bout I just point you toward teh Interwebz for information, and talk more about why music like this matters. It must be touching people, because as I followed his Facebook links, I found two friends had already beaten me there.
One of the things I hate more than anything else when reading critiques of new artists are the comparisons to other artists. Not necessarily because they are comparisons, but more because I didn’t come up with the comparison myself. [Competitive, anyone?] I read Rufus Wainright meets Duncan Sheik, and damn, if “Monarch” doesn’t fit that to a “T”, I don’t know what does. For me, Matt is a male version of kd lang, and I mean that as the highest compliment I can think of. There are more than a couple of parallels between Matt’s “Hide Nothing” and kd’s “Watershed”.
In a world where everyone is looking for a gimmick to make them stand out, isn’t it cool when the “gimmick” is the pureness of the message and the voice? For once, the gimmick isn’t that the artist is gay. Matt’s the real deal, and while he’s not singing mainstream pop songs, the melodies and lyrics found on “Hide Nothing” can appeal to a wide swath of the general public, if given the opportunity. The songs here touch on feelings of new love, dying love, and a range of emotions found somewhere in the details of a life lived as cautiously as it is recklessly. I’m torn on a favorite track, because the formula of “Monarch” is custom-built for my love of slow-building songs of optimism (with a banjo, to boot), but the unique arrangement of “End of the World” draws me back in over and over. So since I’ve already shared “End”, let’s close it out with “Monarch”.