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Syd Matters – Brotherocean

February 14, 2011 by  

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Syd Matters – Brotherocean

NAME: Syd Matters
ALBUM: Brotherocean
DATE: 14February2011

LABEL: Because Music

RATING: 5/5

FIVE WORD REVIEW: Excellent surprise package from France.

LOCATION: Paris, France

LINE UP: Jonathan Morali (vocals).

Syd Matters - Brotherocean.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: There’s something so utterly charming about Syd Matters. Jonathan Morali, the man behind the quintet, is able to demonstrate an impressively laid-back approach to his music while making you feel consistently involved.

Possibly the most surprising thing about Syd Matters is that they haven’t seemed to gain as much critical acclaim as they deserve, particularly given the similarities they have to other excellent bands whose seeming influence has rubbed off on them.

Opening track on Brotherocean ‘Wolfmother’ is a perfect mix of Mark Oliver Everett-style vocals (a trend that continues throughout the album) and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the wistful acoustic and dulcet tones of French counterparts Air.

‘Hi-Life’, the second offering and the most radio-friendly song on the album – the probable reason it’s the first single – really ramps up the Air-like feminised backing vocals and elegant complications brought about by a vast array of instruments. They never get in the way of one another – it’s a masterclass in wonderful complementation.

Throughout Brotherocean, Syd Matters continue to combine a number of musical elements, whether it’s folk, electronica or general pop. While plenty of other bands have nailed this combination, many of them suffer from being heinously boring or generally indifferent to their rivals. This just isn’t the case with Syd Matters, though it’s probably to do with their desire to be creative with their emotional aspects.

Certain songs really push this direction. One of the most outstanding tracks on Brotherocean, ‘We Are Invisible’, is the perfect mix of misery and beauty – the moaning vocals are strangely orchestral and work wonders with the changing drum pace and low-pitched brass section. Similarly, the piano-empowered ‘Rest’ erupts with the help of minimalistic synth.

‘Hadrian’s Wall’, a lengthy closing song that’s either a two-parter or home to a hidden track, is one of the most uplifting endings to an album you’ll have heard in 2011, tying up the performance on a high. You’ll look back and realise that hardly any of it was sad; it’s perfect for both point-of-focus listening and background music when going about your business.

Syd Matters are performing in London on March 1st before supporting Anna Calvi in Brighton in a sold-out second gig. If you’re anywhere near Borderline on that night in the capital, check him out; it’s well worth the effort.

SOUNDS LIKE: Mark Oliver Everett taking a holiday on the continent.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a great new album instead of the soul-crushing reality of loneliness, or the need to make someone happy for the sake of a long and protracted Hallmark-led aggressive marketing campaign about love.

LINK: http://www.myspace.com/sydmatters


Submitted By Matt Gardner


 

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