Review Summary: A modern singer-songwriter album with a few strong attributes but is overall forgettable as a whole.
As of late Matt Costa is becoming a better known artist. Still shrouded in his indie under glow he has yet to reach any true mainstream success, however the occasional song such as “Mr. Pitiful” is placed in a movie soundtrack, and does a fantastic job of catching attention and setting a mood. Sadly, that seems to be all his songs really do and the majority of the other tracks fail to bring anything of the same caliber.
Not to say that Costa is untalented, he is clearly in possession of an immense amount of musical ability. His voice is reminiscent of John Denver at times and the musical arrangements are rich and musically intellectual for the most part. Songs like “Lilacs” carry interesting chord changes and calming lead guitar parts, but the average listener would likely become bored. His voice fails to be anything more than a storyteller would and the emotion just does not seem to take hold. In a few choice tracks Costa delivers a solid amount of feeling but that does not remain consistent.
A big issue seems to be that the folk inspired tracks on the album do not seem to come across as genuine. The chord progressions are not exactly generic, but they seem uninspired, and his voice sounds exactly the same in every track like they hold no individual meaning; almost formulaically unemotional.
In some ways Matt Costa almost reminds me of a male Norah Jones. He seems to be so focused on the tone of his voice and the musicality of his songs that he fails to convey the emotion that we all look for in a singer-songwriter. Not to say that he is not a good songwriter, it is more that he needs to really delve into the music to be believable. “Vienna “is a prime example of this.
At times it seems like he deliberately takes parts of other artist’s melodies and changes the last note or two. For example the melody in the title track seems to borrow a large portion from Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two Headed Boy,” and I am not sure at all what to think of that, especially with it being the title track. At other points in the album it feels the same way, but the songs they relate too are not as obvious.
The album as a whole functions well aside from the transitions between stripped down folk songs and full indie rock tracks, but they are not so deterrent that they ruin anything. Songs like “Mr. Pitiful,” “Trying To Lose My Mind,” “Never Looking Back,” “Bound,” and “Miss Magnolia,” are standout tracks but the rest of the album is forgettable.