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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jul 16th, 2018

Matt Epp: Shadowlands

Matt Epp
Shadowlands
(Independent)

The big slide into the easy acoustics and big beat of “Runaway” opens Matt Epp’s new album, Shadowlands. I like how the slide later gets even wilder during its lead and how an organ slips in front and moves forward at the end. This is a strong commercial opener of a tune. As on “Runaway,” on the simply snare snap and subtle organ of the ballad, “The Bell,” The O’Pears, lend a great counter with female voices.

Starting here, but maintained throughout, the vocals and musicianship highlight how solid Matt Epp is in his songwriting and playing. Production by Aaron Goldstein lays all the elements out perfectly.

I like the tight tapestry of sounds and the menace in the lyric of what might be my fave here, a very Eagles-like (well at least during the singable the chorus) “Unnatural.” Even with a lyric this blatant, the tune works. And “Good Lover,” presents the best mover here by far. The very pretty “In A Flash,” ends, a country pop ballad with slide and great harmonies (again) in another very singable chorus.

The ten tunes here are informed by lots of acoustic modalities, Epp’s strong expressive voice and those great musicians—Jon Radford, Micah Hulscher, ‘Champagne’ James Robertson, Joel Couture, and The O’Pears—mark this tenth album release perfectly. The man is touches on a few subjects in his lyrics and a variety of musical styles, but still keeps a singular solid voice in what he’s delivering.

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Matt Epp: Shadowlands