Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review Matt Corby @ The Grand Social

Sometimes it's hard not to judge a book by its cover and when you see Matt Corby, jovially chatting to strangers, his Aussie accent merrily exchanging pleasantries to all in sundry. You would be forgiven for assuming that, when he takes to the stage, an evening of happy-go-lucky surf folk would follow. But nothing could be further from the truth. A minute into Matt Corby's performance in The Grand Social I felt I was listening to a musical genius. His voice descending from the stage like the hollowed spectre of Jeff Buckley dueting with Nick Drake, on one of their more sullen days. 

Many have tried and failed to mimic the sound of both of these legendary artists. Corby however falls in neither category The struggle for Corby is not held in either the playing or the vocal delivery but rather the lyrical content of his life as an Australian child-star appearing on their version of "Idol" and the pressures that brought him. Which led him to flea Australia for Europe dismissing countless offers of Major label deals along the way, before finding his home in the UK with the Communion label. Communion is the brainchild of Mumford and Son's "Ben Lovett", which has quickly become a magnetic pole for musicians.

Corby's set is split into two an acoustic section and an electric blues section. He uses a loop station to build up layers of backing vocals and guitar in tracks such as "Coloured Stone and Walls" singing a higher harmony over the looped bedrock, bending unbelievable notes for fun. Corby also sings off mic which creates a Southern Prison-Gospel style effect. The only qualm  I would have with his opening section was that the lengthy medley style jump from song to song, although astounding it had seemingly become too much to absorb for many in the audience.

The shorter electric section proved Corby more than proficient at the blues. Fans of "Songs for My Sweetheart the Drunk" era Buckley would surely recognise and enjoy the sparse soundscape of crunchy jazz tinged chords and modernised "My baby don left me" lyrics.

However despite his awe inspiring raw talent you are left feeling Corby needs to refine his arrangements slightly, with some songs perhaps containing one chorus too many. Corby may need to be paired with a producer whose knowledge of sound equals Corby's imagination, Matt Corby however is definitely one to watch.

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