Eric Matthews
Six Kinds Of Passion Looking For An Exit Empyrean http://www.tinymixtapes.comsites/default/files/arton5180_0.jpg

[Empyrean; 2005]

Rating: 1.5/5 1.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: AOR, sincere musings
Others: The High Llamas, The Divine Comedy


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I had never heard of Eric Matthews before this review, but he must be a complex man of many shades (indeed, one of the tracks on this album is titled "From Black To Light Brown"). Certainly, I doubt whether I'm lucky enough to have experienced six kinds of passion -- my range is probably limited to three or four at best. And why are Eric and his multitude of passions looking for an exit?

I hoped to find the answers to this question and others within Eric's musical oeuvre as presented on this disc. However, to describe the lyrics as impenetrable and somewhat bizarre would be an understatement to say the least. In the aptly titled, "So Overblown," Eric croons winfully over and over, "now he calls you home/ description of worries, so overblown." In "Underground," Eric is "terribly sailing in waters that hate me."

The strange lyrics combined with the overly sincere delivery and straightforward strumming give the impression of an acoustic version of Spinal Tap, but without the humor. It's not all bad though; opener "Worthy" has a nice melody and a slightly off-kilter rhythm; "Cardinal Is More" has a fairly catchy chorus; yet, the highlights are few and far between.

Eric seems to have had an interesting past, working with the likes of John McEntire and Lou Barlow, although their influence does not seem to have rubbed off on his musical style, which is resolutely straight-ahead. This can work if the songs are good enough, but on this collection that simply isn't the case. Overall, I don't get the impression that Matthews is fully committed to this record -- maybe he's just looking for an exit after all.

1. Worthy
2. So Overblown
3. Cardinal Is More
4. Underground Song
5. Do You Really Want It?
6. You Will Be Happy
7. From Black To Light Brown