Matthew Good
Avalanche


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
November 7th, 2007 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


When I first popped in my copy of Matthew Good's debut solo album, Avalanche, I had some pretty high expectations. I've heard countless people rave about the man's music (and that of his band from the 90's); I've read about how he was one of the better writers in the Canadian alternative scene, and how his music was similar to the likes of Our Lady Peace, Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, and the like. So, expecting a healthy dose of energetic rockers as well as a few softer, yet distinctly grunge influenced ballad-esque tracks, I was quite pumped when the album came in the mail a good month and a half ago.

Of course, I didn't get what I had initially hoped for. The album was not particularly heavy in the least, and the Cherub Rock/Superman's Dead moments I had expected were pretty non-existent. But that isn't to say that I was disappointed with Avalanche. Oh no, Matthew Good makes up for the lack of a catchy, hard hitting single with a carefree, laidback sound. Crafted through careful orchestration, tranquil melodies, and jangling guitars, the music, Avalanche presents listeners with a very accessible, yet artistically pleasing product as well. Quite simply, it's chill music at its finest. Seriously. Listen to this when you're pissed off and you'll forget why you're so angry. Listen to this when you're depressed and you'll forget that you're depressed. Listen to this while you're happy and, well, you'll enjoy yourself at the very least.

Over the course of the 69 minute album, Matthew Good generally sticks to a similar sounding formula throughout the record's thirteen songs. That isn't to say that each song is a carbon copy of the previous, however. Avalanche is home to a variety of tracks, each of which maintains their own identity. Two of the album's most accessible tracks are Song For the Girl and In a World Called Catastrophe. The latter, though somewhat long at just under six minutes, utilizes a very memorable guitar line which takes from the very best of Our Lady Peace. Not to be out done by…well, his guitar work, Matt Good also presents listeners with a very moving vocal effort. While he isn't the strongest singer in the alternative scene by far, his mostly low key, at times crooning delivery matches up with the lush, tranquil emotions that Avalanche stresses.

Offering a more energetic, bombastic atmosphere are songs such as Double Life and Lullaby For the New World, two tracks which are among the shortest songs on the album. With that said, they use their briefer runtimes to their advantage. Similarly to the poppy, radio friendly Song For the Girl, both of these tracks are upbeat and cheerful, yet at the same time impose a more fast paced, rock influenced feel to them. Double Life thrives on simple, yet infectious chord progressions which inject liveliness into the flow of the album. This provides the record with a welcomed change in pace after calmer, acoustic based songs such as the title track or Bright End of Nowhere.

If I was forced to pick an element off Matthew Good's solo effort which impressed me the most, it would be aforementioned light orchestrated sections which he puts emphasis on throughout the record. Tapping the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on several of the tracks, the orchestration doesn't so much stand out in the spotlight the way Good's vocals do, but instead take on a more background approach which suits the general flow of Avalanche rather well. Perhaps the song which exemplifies the effect of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra the strongest is first single, Weapon. One of the album's darker songs, the layers of symphonic elements compliment the stripped down musicianship perfectly, creating a peaceful intimate atmosphere. Essentially, Weapon paints an exceedingly tranquil, soothing painting in ones head, without sounding excessive and overwhelming all the same.

Through Avalanche, Matthew Good shows why he's definitely one of the more talented members of the Canadian alternative scene. Through his sparse, yet well thought out instrumentation, superb song writing, and unique atmosphere, Good provides listeners with a complete album void of any filler and rather short on weak points. As it displays excellent flow, Avalanche is one of those albums you'll make the most out of by listening to it as a whole (rather than individual tracks), and despite its nearly seventy minute runtime, it feels quite concise and to the point. Fans of alternative rock, or just rock in general should definitely give this a shot. It's definitely worth your while.

Standout Tracks:
Weapon
Avalanche
In a World Called Catastrophe
Double Life



Recent reviews by this author
Funeral for a Friend ConduitPropagandhi Failed States
Tycho DiveMegadeth Th1rt3en
Fair to Midland Arrows and AnchorsArch Enemy Khaos Legions
user ratings (140)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Boxes Of Cats (4.5)
...

guitarnugget (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
November 8th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Getting Hospital Music soon yay

descendents1
November 8th 2007


702 Comments


Hospital Music and Beautiful Midnight are amazing.

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 8th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm looking for Beautiful Midnight as well, but it's eluded me so far. :angry:This Message Edited On 11.08.07

Aficionado
November 8th 2007


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Did you just write that While we were hunting rabbits is short? It's one of the longest songs on the album. Good review, f'uckin love this album. I was gonna review this, I still probably will.

Descendents, I never knew you liked Matthew Good? Descendents, do you have ze msn?

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 8th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nah what i meant to say was Double Life and Lullaby For the New World were short, compared to the 8 minute long Hunting Rabbits and Near Fantastica

i don't know i was just being wordy

Aficionado
November 8th 2007


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, you better fix that buddy.

Two-Headed Boy
November 17th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When did you do this?

Awesome work as usual. This is their 2nd best work, next to AoB.

While We Were Hunting Rabbits should be a recommended track though, to be honest.This Message Edited On 11.17.07

ThePriceofBeauty
July 14th 2008


72 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beautiful Midnight is his best.

flamethisuser
October 19th 2008


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"while we were hunting rabbits" has one of the best music videos I've ever seen

tripleb2k
December 6th 2008


217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is one of those albums I listen to a lot, than out away, listen to a lot, than put away, and so on. I prefer the radio edit of Near Fantastica to the album version but that's my only compliant.

good review!

Burn2Burn
March 4th 2009


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The song 'Avalanche' is one of the best songs he's ever written. Love this cd.

YouAreMySilence
September 18th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Why has no one listened to Vancouver yet?
Without a doubt his best!

girtbypiss
December 19th 2009


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Matthews best in my opinion. Havent heard Vancouver yet though. His voice is fantastic.

girtbypiss
December 19th 2009


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely chill music at its finest

YouAreMySilence
January 14th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This pink pills are for your sanity..

bloc
January 14th 2010


34998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^best song, no question.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

Two-Headed Boy
January 21st 2010


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm just a boat, on the ocean
I'm just a ship, lost at sea...


Damn, even after 7 years, this album still grabs me the same way.

YouAreMySilence
January 31st 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fuck this, I can't stop myself anymore.
I'm giving this and Hospital Music a 5.
That means 3/4 of his albums are classics, not bad.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2010


7026 Comments


I love "Allegiance" but the rest of the album hasn't astounded me as much as the opener.

Ponton
Emeritus
July 12th 2010


5815 Comments


best thing I've heard in a while

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy