by Richard Hart
EP Review of Matt Rider’s latest offering.
British acoustic music has a rich tradition and Matt Rider is attempting to make his way with his new E.P, joining such luminaries as like Damien Rice, Show of Hands and Cat Stevens. Of course it’s one thing thing to want to make it and another all together to actually get there.
Normally to get noticed one needs a combination of skill, attitude and luck. For Matt’s EP there’s no question that he’s worked hard to become a talented musician and that he can certainly play and sing. The luck part is out of his hands, as it is with all of us.
Accomplished guitar and softly spoken vocals are knitted together in a punchy EP that is well produced, albeit with a stripped down low-fi feel. The EP never quite feels like a studio effort but equally doesn’t have the awful zero budget feet of a musical school CD.
Matt’s lyrics are inventive and clever but at times are a little bit laboured. Tight Lipped, Short Tempered is the pick of the litter. This acoustic, softly spoken track was vaguely reminiscent in tone and temperament of Graham Coxon. Full of little idiosyncratic lyrics and a likeable riff of guitar, it’s a likable little indie song.
Baby I’m Bored is a bit more up tempo and is very catchy. It’d be quite at home in a movie or TV show soundtrack, perhaps where the hero is trying to get the girl back. This time the lyrics are sung in a more immediate style. This raw, smoky style seems to suit Matt’s vocals a bit more.
However Holiday falls wide of the mark. A brave, well constructed but ultimately flawed song that plays over some clunky lyrics and a lilting riff that never quite feels as sincere as the other songs. Occasionally the lyrics in this one made me wince, it feels like he’s trying a bit too hard here and it’s not got the honest urgency of the other tracks.
Luckily things are redeemed in the punchy “Get Real” which in terms of tone and lyrics reminded me a little of the Brit-Pop movement of the 90’s. A highly memorable chorus loops around a simple, stripped down chorus. A fun little song about “growing up”, it’s a very likeable tune which is one of the brighter moments from a hugely promising EP.
For fans of acoustic, stripped down music Matt Rider offers another approach. His song writing is already interesting and with time, effort and patience he’ll likely craft his raw approach into something that’s well worth keeping an eye open for.
You can download this free EP from – matt-rider.bandcamp.com