Album review: Scott Matthews – The Great Untold

Scott Matthews

Scott Matthews - Credit: Archant

Matthews strips it down to the essentials for this quietly potent, intimate sixth album.

Matthews has been quietly carving out a career of modest, thoughtful ballads for more than a decade now, gathering an Ivor Novello songwriting award right off the bat, and a burgeoning troupe of avid fans along the way.

The Wolverhampton singer-songwriter, now releasing on his own label, largely does away with the instrumental dressing his fans will be familiar with, recording at home and in a clutch of rural churches hand-picked for their acoustic resonance.

His understated guitar picking, lyrical earnestness and wonderfully soulful, soft and warm vocals are now thrown to the fore.

More than ever his vulnerability is his strength, the 10 sparse arrangements throwing Matthews’ poetic, considered vignettes into sharp relief, from bereavement (the swooning, poignant As The Day Passes) to Silence, a eulogy to the clarity of thought it fosters, set to Matthews’ warm, meandering hums and deceptively simple but deft acoustic guitar.

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Lawless Stars is informed by plangent electric guitar and ghostly choral backing, which segues into an instrumental epilogue of drooping acoustic guitar notes and lone piano notes hanging in an ethereal half-light. A wonderful, intimate triumph.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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