Matt Mitchell & the Coldhearts – S/T
Release Date: 31/05/2019
Running Time: 53:22
Review by Paul Monkhouse
Anyone who has ever seen or heard Pride, Furyon or Colour of Noise knows that Matt Mitchell is one of the finest singers in rock. Now fronting his own band, he has the chance to be centre stage and to really flex his musical muscles, producing what is one of the very best albums you’ll hear this year. Sure, some of it does indeed rock but there’s much more to the MM&tC than that as Mitchell and the band have captured lightning in a bottle by combining elements from some of the finest songwriters of modern times whilst very much being their own men.
As with solidly rocky, swinging groove of the opening track ‘Black Diamonds’ and the rest of the album, the thing that really strikes you is the richness of Mitchells voice, an instrument that can bluster or caress with the best of them. There is a fair mix of both as the band switch effortlessly between hard and heavy and much more introspective fare throughout the running time of the release. Following the dark and twisting first track, ‘Home’ is a much brighter, almost poppy, number that has a light Summery feel whilst still remaining powerful.
The album is sprinkled with echoes of Springsteen, Chris Cornell and the Stones, the songwriting really coming to the fore in the way that recent gig partners The Quireboys have mastered. The woozy Soundgarden-ish soundscape of ‘On and On’ bringing a real early 70’s sound typifies this approach, unafraid of putting the craft first and not just going for an easier all-out attack. This really is an album that keeps on giving and will bear repeat listenings over the years, eschewing any dated attempts at capturing the zeitgeist or riding trends. There is also a real honesty in the lyrics, touching on very personal subjects that are obviously very close the heart of the writer, deep whilst not being maudlin. There are hints of rocking out with your mates, beer in hand, girls, cars and fun but also a quality that is sorely missed from the combined partying output of Kiss, Motley Crue and Steel Panther.
‘Unavailable’ amazes with its zig-zagging riff and rhythm that Mick and Keef would be proud of while acoustic ballad ‘Old Enough & Ugly Enough’ is prime John Fogerty in feel, replete with a soaring but tasteful guitar solo. Rockers ‘Wave Goodbye’ and Everything to You’ are gutsy slabs of glorious guitar and driving drums and bass that really shake things up before the album closes with ‘Keep Me Safe’. This last track is a definite highlight of an already hugely accomplished record, being a slow building atmospheric treat accompanied by some peddle steel and plaintive vocals. If you manage to get your hands on the initial, special edition, copy of the album you’ll be treated to the outstanding acoustic version of ‘Home’ and the equally lovely live piano version of ‘Dare You to Watch’. In a year crammed with so many excellent albums already it would be a crime not to add this gem to your collection. I guarantee it will be something you’ll love for years to come.
01. Black Diamonds
03. On & On
04. Dare You To Watch
05 Kings & Queens
07. Do You Wanna Be My God
08. Old Enough & Ugly Enough
09 Wave Goodbye
10. Everything To You
11. Keep Me Safe
12 Waiting For The Sun
13. Home (Acoustic Version, Special Edition Bonus Track)
14. Dare You To Watch (Piano Version, Special Edition Bonus Track)
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