Matthew Good
Lights of Endangered Species


4.0
excellent

Review

by VJ90 USER (13 Reviews)
May 30th, 2011 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heading into the twilight with a nod to the past and a gaze to the future

When Matthew Good revealed the title of the upcoming Lights of Endangered Species and the name’s reference to the future and what unfolds after one passes on, it was challenging not to contemplate the man’s influence on modern rock.

Despite having a presence within the Canadian music industry for roughly twenty years, Matthew Good could still be considered a hidden treasure of sorts. Success within the United States proved elusive throughout the decade Good spent fronting the Matthew Good Band and only added a crippling tension within the outfit when compared to the overwhelming popularity the alternative rock band garnered in the north. After the dissolution of the group, Good decided to head solo, expanding on his trademark songwriting with added pomp - not only enlisting an orchestra on select future releases, but penning lengthier pieces that were increasingly emotive and socially conscious as his discography widened. With Good’s fifth solo effort, Lights of Endangered Species, the material offered is both bombastic and subdued, progressive and familiar, providing an increasingly engaging, emotional experience as the singer-songwriter has released his best work in the past eight years.

As a whole, Lights of Endangered Species is a fitting progression within Matthew Good's discography. Sonically, the album is a fusion of the diverse Hospital Music and the grandiose Avalanche. Individually, what separates this record from the remainder of Good’s discography is the generous inclusion of brass within the record, most notably found on the swanky “Zero Orchestra” and an added maturity that is prevalent throughout the fifty minute duration.

"How It Goes," a lush piece accompanied by waves of gentle flutes, is arguably the standout piece on Lights of Endangered Species. The song, while unassuming, has an ability to leave a notable presence due to the smoothness of its passing and consequently is one of the most memorable tracks Good has put to tape in recent memory. “What If I Can’t See the Stars Mildred,” an exploration of inner-conflict and losing an identity through prescribed medication usage, is both dynamic and poignant; metaphorically tackling the issue of bipolarity as the composition jumps from a tense trot to a contemplative crawl. "Shallow's Low," on the other hand, uses a consistently slower, almost jazzy backdrop with an extended instrumental jam brilliantly, providing a listening experience that allows the listener to follow along in the present, yet reflect on the past as the tune climaxes. Harkening back to an older era, “Set Me On Fire" is a classic Matthew Good piece - both charming, yet unsettling in nature. Above all, with the aforementioned selections, there is a new found attention to melody and an emphasis in pushing these melodies to the forefront, rather than tuck it behind Good’s voice. Here, stretches of instrumental sections are just as gripping as Good’s lyrical purging.

Although a majority of Lights of Endangered Species finds Good experimenting and succeeding, a couple minor blemishes mar the greater whole. Lead single, “In a Place of Lesser Men,” offers a throwback sound that while bold, comes across as awkward and forced. Furthermore, the eponymous closer wraps the record in pedestrian fashion, as the four minute finale is a far-cry from the winding, tense closers of previous releases. Even with criticisms shared, it’s difficult to pretend that this is anything but nitpicking an overwhelming fluid and dynamic album.

With Lights of Endangered Species every smaller tune serves a greater overall purpose - shaping and delivering the best Matthew Good album in the past eight years. Horns blare, strings glide, an acoustic resonates and Good bares his soul within it all. With whispers of this being the final full length from Matthew Good, longtime listeners can find solace in understanding that Good capped his full length output with a fearless, uncompromising record that both nods to the past and dares to gaze onward into the undetermined future. Where Matthew Good figures into these upcoming years remains to be seen or heard. Regardless, his music will remain, elusive of popular acclaim though far richer than any profits that could have been obtained.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Irving Tan STAFF (2)
What if I can't see the point Matthew?...

goatskin (4.5)
the Canadian alt-rock god puts down his guitar...kinda...


Comments:Add a Comment 
crazyblinddude
May 30th 2011


3390 Comments


I'm surprisingly excited to give this a listen actually.

Oh and use brackets instead of less than/greater than signs for the italics. It's still a good review though!

VJ90
May 30th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, I appreciate it. Yeah, I fixed the italics. I was using parentheses, it's been a while.

crazyblinddude
May 30th 2011


3390 Comments


It's no problem man. I should thank you for giving me some insight on the album, because I'm too
fucking lazy to write a review.

VJ90
May 30th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It happens to the best of us.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 30th 2011


3896 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This didn't rock as hard as I expected it too/some of his earlier stuff. Could use some stronger melodies. Still p good though.

VJ90
May 30th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hear you. Yeah, this material definitely takes a few spins to grow on you. "Zero Orchestra" was appalling at first, but is now rather fresh sounding. I expect some other songs to pop out to me later as well.

VJ90
May 30th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One more review and I'll be tied with Monica Skoko! That's work ethic.

VJ90
May 30th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My bad. Here's the link to the stream: http://exploremusic.com/video/matt-good-lights-of-endangered-species-album-premiere/



Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2011


7503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Decent review, overall. However, there are some rather heavy - and at times fatal - niggles:



i.) Success within the United States proved elusive throughout the decade Good spent fronting the Matthew Good Band and only added a crippling tension within the outfit when compared to the overwhelming popularity the alternative rock band garnered in the north.



Overlong run-on sentence. Consider breaking it up or adding commas.



ii.) Avoid using vague descriptive words that mean little; here: Sonically, the album is a fusion of the diverse Hospital Music and the grandiose Avalanche. Aside from the fact that Hospital Music is not musically "diverse", you should be aware that to the casual reader who is not familiar with Good's discography, "grandiose" as a descriptive term is pretty weak and vague - for what does it even mean? Did Avalanche have a ten-piece orchestra in it? I hope I'm making sense here.



iii.) Individually, what separates this record from the remainder of Good’s discography is the generous inclusion of brass within the record, most notably found on the swanky “Zero Orchestra” and an added maturity that is prevalent throughout the fifty minute duration.



This sentence is rather bizarre. The "individually" flag doesn't mean anything to me (again, what does it mean?), and the phrase "added maturity" is also kinda flappy and non-committal. It's also slightly tricky to buy into the "generous inclusion of brass" as the thing that "separates this record from the remainder of Good's discography".



iv.) “What If I Can’t See the Stars Mildred,” an exploration of inner-conflict and losing an identity through prescribed medication usage, is both dynamic and poignant



Dynamic. Poignant. See points ii and iii above.



-



In short, your review suffers from a lot of filler words. Your prose is perfect, but the succinctness of your ideas rarely gets off the ground due to a vocabulary that - while impressive - does nothing more than garnish a decidedly empty dish. Keep working on expressing the clarity of your ideas. Won't neg, but this isn't pos-worthy either. Hope to see you writing again. Cheers.





VJ90
May 31st 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Irving. This was a little rushed, being honest. However, the feedback is greatly appreciated. I'll definitely be thinking this over.

Jash
June 2nd 2011


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

just started my first listen right now, ill read this after im done listening

M72
June 3rd 2011


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

High quality album. It's very adventurous in some areas, familiar in others. A great balance and it sounds grand. Love Shallow's Low, What If I Can't See The Stars Mildred?, Zero Orchestra, Non Populus, Set Me On Fire, heck, pretty much every song.



Zero Orchestra will be the song of the summer. It's just brilliant songwriting and even though it's big band-esque, it's a gem. So musical and catchy, should have been the first single. Good thing it's going to be the second.

VJ90
June 4th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have to agree with that - very adventurous in some areas, but familiar in others. It's a good mix of old and new.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2011


7503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I just finished my first spin of this album, after having waited for ages to listen to it. Apart from

"Zero Orchestra", I have to say I'm sorely unimpressed with the whole affair. Hmph. Will give it

several more goes before I provide my final rating.

wabbit
June 7th 2011


7058 Comments


It grows Irving! but ya his last two albums have been so stellar and this isn't as good. It's adventurous but I just want matt and a guitar and a sad song.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2011


7503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I hope it does rabbit lol. I thought of trying to justify my disappointment with this album with his being a bit more adventurous, but I didn't want to risk conflate Good simply being uninspired and unmelodic with being experimental. I have to admit, my disappointment is probably greatly exacerbated by my recent discovery of Hospital Music's all-round awesomeness (I just purchased it last week), so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I'm on my second spin now.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2011


7503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Okay negative review coming right up lol.

wabbit
June 7th 2011


7058 Comments


well hospital music is an unfair pedestal. An artist can only have one album like that


his live at massey hall is his best though. If you don't cry at the end of champions of nothing you have no soul

M72
June 8th 2011


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really? You like Matthew Good and find nothing other than Zero Orchestra that really catches your ear? As different as this album is for him, I think it's still very MG. Out of Mildred, Non Populus, Shallow's Low, Set Me On Fire, and Lights of Endangered Species I'm very surprised you're greatly disappointed by all of them.

VJ90
June 8th 2011


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.



I found Hospital Music, with the exception of a few songs, to be one of his more mediocre records.







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