Matthew Good Band
Vancouver


5.0
classic

Review

by Brandon E.L. Magnuson USER (4 Reviews)
October 16th, 2009 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: That old man in the sky, he's all ice on the outside

Vancouver is recognized throughout the world as a beautiful, majestic city. Chosen as the location for the Winter Olympics of 2010, the vast community is a spectacle of Canada’s magnificence, supposedly. Having been through Vancouver a few times it’s unbelievable how black and white it is; on the one side there is a wealthy high class, where the rich live in splendour and privilege, where on the other side you have a poverty-stricken population kept from the public’s eye. With the press around Canadian songwriter and political activist, Matthew Good’s new record, Vancouver, where I am going with this is obvious. With distaste and spite, Good calls Vancouver his hometown, and I know everyone has some hate towards their hometown but I think his odium is a little more justified than the average person, thus the concept to Mr. Good’s fifth solo effort, and his opus.

Opening with the single, Last Parade, as soon as the chorus hits with Matt singing “Ain’t it good to be back home” in an apparent sarcastic manner, the theme, stated before, becomes very evident. Though, what makes the album so brilliant is how Vancouver is not just a premise for hometown hate, but a metaphor for Good’s state of mind. Producing some of Canada’s biggest alt rock hits in the late 90s to early 2000s, with his band, Matthew Good Band, he was known as a terrific songwriter with a knack for writing hooks while keeping the content politically and personally thought provoking. Winning basically everything the Canadian music industry could throw at him, he is known as a Canadian icon, though my opinion, an underrated icon. What has become perceptible, within the last, at least, seven years is Good’s displeasure for the mainstream, whether it is musically or otherwise. Known for not being shy about voicing his opinions towards the Olympics, the Junos, Nickelback, or really anything, Good has had the spotlight for many things other than music. With the release of his prior record, Hospital Music, an incredibly intimate record about his devastating divorce, the death of a loved one, and his battle with Bipolarity, his emotional state also garnered media attention. Basically, when you have two opposites, poverty and gluttony with Vancouver, political anger and emotional frailty, symmetry is not created. Instead, as Good cries “Go, explode!” in the epic, The Boy Who Could Explode, only personal distress is caused, breeding some of his darkest most thought provoking lyrical content.


Carry me Mother Mary, I'm faithless
like Sister Theresa, canonized, faceless.
The press release leaves the plagiarist nameless
and all is forgiven.



Spirituality, politics, media and personal lose play a strong role in the lyrical substance, as shown by the example from the haunting On Nights Like Tonight, but instead of having “the protest song,” “the anti media song,” and then “the break up song” these topics flow seamlessly throughout the entire record, always inspired, showing off Good’s extensive experience as a songwriter. Another point bringing us back to way this is his masterpiece; how well this record flows. While most of the albums, whether being under his old band or his solo project, contain around fourteen songs, making it, not only, hard to keep a consistent atmosphere but also just making the record hard to digest as a whole. Vancouver, however, only contains ten tracks putting more impact not only on each individual song, but each lyric.

Though most infuses is placed on Matthew’s poignant vocals, the instrumentation is not to be understated as mere background noise. The percussion acts as a stable backbone, getting at steady, catchy beat without distracting from mood. A perfect example of this is in the epic, restraint filled closer, Empty’s Theme Park, Blake Manning shows how captivating a simple pattern can be, as the guitar line joins in creating hypnotic simplicity. As for Good’s trade mark guitar work, it is still there but more in the way it was on Hospital Music, then on the rock and roll focused White Light Rock & Roll Review, meaning that he is persistent more on melody, and maybe throwing in a solo when it fits, then just making dirty, guitar heavy anthems. Surprisingly, the bass work, written and performed by Mr. Good himself, shows a strong place in the record, even contributing the open riff to hate filled hometown anthem, The Vancouver National Anthem.


Well this is our story, but it ain't the truth
Cuz the truth's just for liars that need an excuse.
Around here love's a gangster and charity's the proof
Where God deals on Sundays under a rain burning roof.



A notable factor that is an important part of what makes this album so immense is the return of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra which accompanied most evidently on Good’s 2003 release, Avalanche. Avalanche, probably his album most relatable to this, used strings to add a much darker mood to the album where Vancouver uses the orchestra as almost another instrument, but in a subtle text. Songs like Great Whales of the Sea and Volcanoes, are more atmospheric and textured than anything else Matthew has ever done because of the great use of the strings, creating a wintry city mood lasts throughout the record. Though this is his most atmospheric work it cannot be said that this is diluted in any way or that this doesn’t have its edge. The powerful, Fought To Fight It, is sure to breed nostalgia with many of Matthew Good’s faithful drawing a sound that is quite reminiscent of the late ‘90’s hit, Hello Time Bomb.


Well this ain't the woods behind the house
there ain't nobody screaming out
for you to come inside and eat.
You're just holding your friends and watching them bleed.



Vancouver, to me, is not just a recorded political statement, nor is just a great record by a great artist; what it is, is one the few records that have such a deep impact on me, not just in my own music but in my everyday life. It is the kind of record that reminds me of the kind of relevant art that can be made by a passionate songwriter, even one who has been around for over a decade and has been through so much desolation. Solely produced by Matthew Good, he combines the grandiose sound of the fan favourite, Avalanche, with the intimacy of heartbreaking, Hospital Music, creating a soundtrack that is not only politically savvy and intelligent but also devastating and desperate. With Vancouver, Good doesn’t simply make his other work irrelevant but instead, effortlessly, combines all the paramount attributes to make not just the record of the year, but his magnum opus.


Hold me like you’ll never let me go, bear it like you’ll never let it show


user ratings (88)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
gravediggerfuneral (4)
Matthew Good’s 2009 album “Vancouver” looks to encapsulate his love/hate relationship with his...

Brahmin Sclorosis (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

So much awesomeness, so little talent.
Just trying to meet my review per year quota.

poopty
October 16th 2009


319 Comments


nice workrate

YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Haha just trying to do my part.

Tits McGee
October 16th 2009


1876 Comments


ugh still don't know about listening to this. looks good, but I've never been able to get into any of his music

Douglas
October 16th 2009


9172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, be it loonnnngg, spoz ya gotta justify your rating...
Sorry man didnt like this as much as you

YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I would say try it out but I'm biased haha.
Idk I never really enjoyed his music alot until I listened to this.
Then I looked back and saw what I was missing.

Schizophrenik
October 16th 2009


843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

man i need this. i love beautiful midnight, how does this compare to it?

YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nooo Dougie! Haha jk, it's understandable, i guess.
Maybe give it another listen and throw up a rating.

And it's kinda long but ya with a 5 I assume one's review show probably be longer.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2009


20857 Comments


I've been waiting for this Brandon. Well worth the wait too. Fantastic review... & I didn't think it was too long at all. Pos.

Douglas
October 16th 2009


9172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha I'll give it another whirl later tonight.

Not too long says Mr. 6 paragraphs haha

YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, it took me about a week to do this, fighting between a few things but there is no reason why I can't pop a few more out by the end of the year.

And hope you rating goes up man, cause I really can't see how anyone can give this less than a 4.

Douglas
October 16th 2009


9172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cant see anyone giving Paul Dempsey less than a 4 ; ) hahaha

rasputin
October 16th 2009


14555 Comments


don't italicise everything. italics should be used with albums, and use quotation marks for lyrics. artist names do not need to be altered but if it's an artist othre than matthew good band, you can put tags around it

Schizophrenik
October 16th 2009


843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aww, man. no ones gonna answer my question...i guess that means i have to actually read the review *frustrated*

PuddlesPuddles
October 16th 2009


4787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really don't know why people love this to a 5 :-(
It's good and all...
Anyway, nice review

YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

aww, man. no ones gonna answer my question...i guess that means i have to actually read the review *frustrated*

HA!


YouAreMySilence
October 16th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ya Dougie Dempey is really good, still cannot find a link to the whole record but I may just pick it up when I come across some cash.

And thanks rasputin I was never really sure about that, I changed it so Good's name isn't italicised.

Schizophrenik
October 16th 2009


843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i read it

good review, ill definitely be getting this soon

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2009


17224 Comments


never listened to matthew good.

bloc
October 16th 2009


34992 Comments


Avalanche rocks, never listened to this album though.

edit: my mistake, that's one of his solo records.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition



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