Matt Roberts, Now You Are Gone

Matt Roberts, Now You Are Gone

A lot of good things have come out of Australia: Paul Hogan, boomerangs, shrimp on the barbie, The Living End, and now Matt Roberts, just to name a few. Roberts is on an indie label half a world away, so I will assume that like me, you’re not too familiar with his music. Apparently, Matt Roberts practices medicine, and when he gets some free time he tours the Australian countryside. The music he puts out has been compared favorably to Rufus Wainwright, The Postal Service, and Badly Drawn Boy. I would also add Phil Collins, although I might only compare the two because of the thick accent in the singing and the soft textures of the songs (I really don’t want to drag Matt Roberts into the purgatory that is Phil Collins — really, I don’t).

Now You Are Gone is a soft rock/pop album that spills over at the brim with hooks and groovy beats. The first song on the album, “Tiger Ballad,” slowly builds using the soft sounds of an organ as well as the singer’s willowy voice. Roberts croons in a cool, relaxed style like a guy who regularly wears a smoking jacket. “Tiger Ballad” is a quiet melancholy song involving heartache — a theme omnipresent throughout the album. The lyrics were poignant and heartfelt without becoming mawkish and overbearing. The following song, “Binary,” probably my favorite, shows off Roberts’ talent for creating bouncy hooks on the piano. The dancing piano creates the groove and the drum digs it deeper, while the electro-acoustic guitar maintains the bounce and lightness of “Binary.”

The first six songs on Now You Are Gone are the strongest — the album’s catchiest hooks and most memorable tracks start off the album. The latter half isn’t bad, but an ebb occurs after the overwhelming flow of the first few tracks. “Paris, January” was the first song that completely lost me. It’s a track that alternates from French to English and is so sweet and sappy you might get diabetes just by listening to it. The song is sultry and seductive in a way that I’m guessing the opposite sex might appreciate more than the guys. I’m not saying you have to be a female to like this song, but “You know how I know you’re gay?”

All in all, Matt Roberts has put out a good pop-rock album. There’s nothing too avant garde on here, but it’s a CD with a strong heartbeat. The singer/songwriter gives his well-crafted grooves and piano riffs a strong pulse and lays down lyrics that come across as genuine. After repeated listenings, the album reminds me a little more of Iron & Wine with an Aussie accent.

(Sound Vault Records -- 230 Roden Street, West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3003; http://www.lexicon.net/soundvault/; Matt Roberts -- http://www.mattroberts.com.au/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Monday, September 11th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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