I can’t remember how I came to find them, but all summer long my mainstay soundtrack has been Matthew and the Atlas and their album Other Rivers, named as a reference to a quote in John Steinbeck’s, East of Eden Letters. I cannot recommend this Album enough, it is beautifully good.
Whilst the album is more synths and beats than the earlier EPs, I personally think this establishes a richer, layered atmosphere that lends the album a unique ambience whilst still paying homage to folksier roots. Full of nature based references and imagery; it has a darker wildness and savagery woven through it which I adore and this translates as a kind of urgency in some of the tracks. ‘Out of the Darkness’ the fourth track on the album begins sparsely but manages to weave a web of paranoia, longing and ultimately resignation. Is it about a past destructive love affair or a darker element of the characters own personality that lives within? I have no idea! But it’s a hugely atmospheric track that gave me goosebumps when I saw them perform it live earlier in the year.
Matthew Hegartys voice is simply something carved from wood, as mournful as a solo cello in parts and equally impressive live. It is a voice that should be accompanied by a crackling fire and wood smoke. The last minute or so of ‘Into Gold’ is also very special – another song that casts its own melodic spell. Definitely do give the album a listen if you get chance and if you did want to delve into their back catalogue of EPs, then try ‘Within the Rose’ its heartbreakingly beautiful and ‘I followed Fires’ if you like your more traditional folk sound.
Here is the little link to their site;http://matthewandtheatlas.com/