Matthew Good
Chaotic Neutral


4.5
superb

Review

by Hopelust USER (11 Reviews)
October 5th, 2015 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "If you’re coming with me, come with me now; no more, no less, no faith to test, no asking how."

There’s been a fairly strong pattern to Matthew Good’s releases. Excluding his turn of the millennium band, Good’s albums have seemingly followed a 1-on-1-off routine. The “ons”, or his odd-numbered releases, have gravitated toward any or all of the following: noticeable experimentation, darker themes and/or melodies, comfort zone departure, compelling lyrical content, & atypical instrument/sampling inclusion. All ingredients in successful musical endeavours, Avalanche, Hospital Music, and Lights of Endangered Species boasted some of Good’s more formidable works and set new standards for his artistic ability and integrity. Enter Chaotic Neutral; the seventh release for the Vancouver area native, and as such, following suit in the aforementioned pattern wonderfully.

Named after a character alignment from the massively-multiplayer-offline RPG Dungeons & Dragons (to which Matt candidly admits to being an avid player of in the past), Chaotic Neutral sees Good once again crossing into darker waters. It’s chock-full of notable tracks, each adding to the surprising accessibility of the album, but still maintaining his signature style as a exceptional songwriter.

Songs such as ‘Kid Down the Well’ demonstrate subtle hints at previous works including ‘Strange Days’ and ‘Apparitions’ (also by holding the spot for track 3!). Slow strumming and solid imagery created by Good’s lyrics, building up to an impassioned chorus that incites the illusion of time slowing down when he belts out:

“Always said you’re gonna get yours
You keep going near that thing
Like that missile in Strangelove
Drifting in slow motion… slow motion”

‘Harridan’ shows Good on his experimental side, messing with song structures, scraping the need for a chorus and letting the music take the listener where he believes they need to go. The addition of audio sampling and an effective guitar solo, along with a much needed & perfectly executed shift in dynamics finishes the track with vigor.

‘Cold Water’ is perhaps one of the album’s best, offering a morose combination of soft piano keys and faded guitars. The song has a late-night lounge-like appeal, which is aided by its soft and steady percussion beat, riding ever so delicately on the edge of cymbals along with a light snare. Matthew’s quivering voice sounds better than ever, as he remains on the lower end of the pitch spectrum. The only issue herein is that it sounds oddly similar in sound to ‘Tiger By The Tail’, which precedes said track by a couple of songs.

Aside from having a plethora of reasons for listeners to pay attention, Chaotic Neutral is a certain reminder that Good’s strengths show in full colour when he’s ready for them to. He has noted previous albums as being more fun to create, while others almost come off as process in exorcising his demons. His newest bears evidence of both, but mainly the latter, under which he consistently shines as an artist. This juxtaposition in the creative process diversifies the album superbly, and never transitions forcibly between tracks. ‘No Liars’ could easily have Matt subbed out for Stephen Jenkins to create the next Third Eye Blind hit. Meanwhile, the album’s ender ‘Los Alamos’ possesses the emotional haunt of Good’s earlier years as a musician, whence he was plagued by mental trauma as an undiagnosed bi-polar disorder sufferer.

All in all, MG’s newest addition to his catalogue has very little, if anything, to deter you. Any previous fan will be quick to pick up everything they had respected him for in the first place. In fact, the eleven song collection is formidable not only as a refinement of previous influences and works, but also as a stepping stone to new grounds. As such, this, coupled with the album’s creative variance could make it his best qualifier in years to attract new fans as well as old. Chaotic Neutral is certainly not one to be overlooked.



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user ratings (20)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hopelust
October 5th 2015


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a solid 4.3 for me. Had to round up the rating tho. Enjoy, all.



Streaming @ http://www.matthewgood.org/chaotic-neutral/

RadicalEd
October 5th 2015


9546 Comments


So this actually good? The last two albums have been hard 2/5s for me, even though I love "Hospital Music"

Hopelust
October 5th 2015


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Radical, dunno what to tell ya man. If you're looking for another hospital music, this ain't it. But it's good in its own right, and has similar features that made hospital music what it was. I'm really enjoying it.

TheSupernatural
October 6th 2015


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I don't know why, but this failed to capture me in the way that Avalanche, Hospital Music, and Vancouver do. Feels a little too safe and unadventurous. Maybe I just wasn't following the lyrics enough but that's usually what happens on first listen

Hopelust
October 6th 2015


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I kinda found that too from my first listen, but as I tuned in more, the back half I find to be much more adventurous than I originally perceived. The front end is safer, definitely, I can agree with that. Still really enjoy Kid Down the Well though. As safe as it is, it's a phenomenal track.



Thanks for the POS', guys.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
October 6th 2015


10859 Comments


lol that album title

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
October 6th 2015


10859 Comments


i understand the splitting of the third and fourth paragraphs was due to the lyrical passage, but the fourth and fifth paragraphs look suspiciously like track by tracks and that triggers me...

Hopelust
October 7th 2015


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Relax, metal. Yes, it does look like that. But my subject did literally change, therefor the new paragraph is justified. Plus, if you made it that far in the review, you're basically at the end anyway.



PS. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ASaltySurprise
December 31st 2015


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol that album title



The album title is actually awesome. I was looking up the album and I saw what a "Chaotic Neutral" is and I actually found it pretty intriguing.

grandbazaar
June 2nd 2019


93 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Avalanche, Vancouver and Chaotic Neutral are some of his best albums IMO.

Observer
Emeritus
July 29th 2020


8680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah no doubt. This one sounds tight, and I agree with your other two. Seems his solo material is hit and miss.

Digging: Inanna - Converging Ages

Hopelust
July 31st 2020


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The only one that really doesn't click with me is "Something Like A Storm." Everything else has fantastic moments. I'm not as fond of Hospital Music as most are, but I can still identify that it's a solid album and features some phenomenal tracks.

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2020


831 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hospital Music gets messy towards the end imo. too many short throwaway/cover songs.

Digging: Jesu - Terminus

Observer
Emeritus
July 31st 2020


8680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Actually dig something like a storm, reminds me of this one a lot. Hospital Music is pretty overrated imo, but I need to give it more time.



His new one has some solid songs, but much of it is too samey and it's hard to sit through.

grandbazaar
August 3rd 2020


93 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Something like a Storm had it's moments but Moving Wall is better IMO.

Observer
Emeritus
August 4th 2020


8680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like individual songs on MW a lot but like with Hospital Music, its hard for me to sit through him at that pace for a whole album, let alone 15 tracks.

Hopelust
August 4th 2020


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That’s a fair argument. I have it on vinyl and listening to it in sections really breaks it up nicely for me.

Observer
Emeritus
August 4th 2020


8680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Radicals is one of his best songs though.



I digged this interview with Matt, explained the situation recording that album in his parent's garage and current things for him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIvjQLwjFDs

Hopelust
August 4th 2020


3533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ouuu Ill check that out for sure. Thanks for the link!

Observer
Emeritus
August 4th 2020


8680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No Prob. I wish more of his interviews were available for reading/watching. He's an interesting guy. He blogs constantly on his site, so there is that though. His Ted Talks appearance in 2013 or so about mental illness and how it relates to art was an interesting thing to watch as well. His speaking voice sounds almost exactly like Robert Downey Jr.



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