MATT MITCHELL MUSIC CO – Obvious Euphoria (American Standard Time Records)

Obvious EuphoriaObvious Euphoria is released in the UK on January 26th and is the third full length release by Matt Mitchell Music Co. It was recorded in Astoria, Oregon – the home of The Hackles, two of whom feature on this album. Which rather lets you know what to expect – something American-ish but transcending the genre; something warm, which has been put together, played and recorded with a gentle touch; something classy.

The album opens with ‘Hourglass’. Gentle picking hooks you in, the accompaniment kicks in and draws you closer, the melody line is hypnotic. Then the vocal kicks in – warm and with a lyric to bring you into the whole album “They say the best songs come from the worst times”. A great line in itself, but when it’s followed by “I think I’m ready for the limelight” you have the tension of a classic story set up: Where’s this going? What happens next? The song also has a great chorus – it’s a splendid opener.

There are nine tracks on the album, only a little over half an hour, but it’s good enough that it feels like a longer album. Other highlights would include the quirky, and catchy, ‘Kerosene’:

Would you go out for me
I need a book of matches and some kerosene
There’s more than one way to get clean
I’m going to burn down everything

It’s a song which feels more like therapy than arson. ‘House on Fire’ uses a not dissimilar image in a story about living and loving now. ‘House on Fire’ also has a lovely acapella chorus towards its conclusion, which draws your attention to how good are the harmonies elsewhere on the album.

‘Captain Toyota’ is another favourite, a picaresque song about being the captain of an old Toyota, and it sparks the idea that the American heroes of Captain Ahab and Jack Kerouac have been united into a wryly amusing song, “Somehow this rig just keeps going”, “You got to give up a lot to be free”. The song is all the better because it feels real – and I suspect it is since Mitchell apparently lives full time on an old bus.

Mitchell’s website tells you that the album takes you through “through heartache, grief, and perseverance reaching towards transformation, a journey that parallels Mitchell’s own roaming and seeking life”. Sounds about right.

The only shows currently on Mitchell’s website are in America but you can see from the video of ‘Hourglass’ below that there’s an easy live style to the playing. Well worth the listen.

Mike Wistow

 Artist’s website:

‘Hourglass’ – live and relaxed:

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