Sunday, March 2, 2008

When the Angels Make Contact - Matt Mays (RIPPED OFF '07)

When the Angels Make Contact

Matt Mays
Warner Canada Records.

SCQ Rating: 85%

This I did get for Christmas in 2006, and quickly became immersed in my third Matt Mays album in as many years. It’s a strange album, given that it’s a soundtrack to a movie that was never completed, but it’s a Neil Young-strangeness that awards some props to a young artist who shows little regard for what genre fans might like to pigeon-hole him into.

After conquering folk, roots-rock and Springsteen-grandeur on his first two albums (one mostly acoustic, the second entirely electric), When the Angels Make Contact finds Mays mixing the aforementioned with electronic instruments, hip-hop and frankly, the best production (courtesy of El Torpedo’s Tim Jim Baker and Mays himself) for some of Mays best songs. Perhaps because of the unfinished film’s subject matter (a biker who searches the brink of mortality for his lost love), songs like ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ and the title track feel emotionally troubled compared to Mays’ earlier work, while ‘Rough N’ Tumble Come Down’ sounds down-right dangerous in fantastic fashion.

Truthfully, some of the songs within this 18 track behemoth are so convincing, I’ve occasionally daydreamed about how perfect this record would’ve been had he ditched 40% of the album (the soundtrack-y interludes, mostly) and kept the absolute essential ten songs. It would’ve been a contender for album of the year, or at the very least, my #1 Truly Ripped Off Album of 07.

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