Matt Costa Dishes The Goods With Self-Titled Album
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 22:02
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, in Matt Costa’s case there are quite a few people who should be flattered. In his new self-titled album, Costa takes a look back at old tricks used by the great pop musicians of the ’60s and ’70s and dusts them off, adding a shiny new contemporary sheen to the classic sound. With a mixture of psychedelics and disco horns, Costa carefully picks and chooses between genres in order to create the ultimate West Coast indie album that will leave listeners with an excited feeling of musical satisfaction.
The opening track of Matt Costa is an eye opener, pulling the listener in almost immediately without any hope of escape until nine songs later when the album comes to a close. In typical Matt Costa form, the song has an upbeat 1960s pop feel with a backing vocal track that sounds like it was pulled off of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That typical bouncy southern California sound instantly puts the listener on a palm-laden beach, a no doubt pleasant thought for any audience. This song fits into one of three genres found on this album, all intertwining at one point or another, but powerful enough to stand on their own.
While track one acts as an example of the album’s poppy ’60s side, track two seems to hit a more late ’70s sound employing a horn section. The use of brass makes each respective track sound like a Chicago song, a mixture of disco horns and pop rock style. The third genre available is the Bob Dylan folk sound. While the lyrics are beautifully poetic, singing soulfully about lost love and the sadness that comes along with an aging and dying relationship, the music behind it can be pulled off of the B-side of any old Jim Croce record. All of these genres are taken, molded, and placed in a contemporary lens, not unlike what great alternative bands like The Shins have been able to do. With each song seemingly more exciting than the last the album creates a pleasurable easy listening feel.
While he absolutely maintains his artistic identity, Costa keeps his sound dynamic, resulting in a musical experiment gone beautifully right. One of the benefits of making music that sounds like it comes from four decades ago is the ability to pull out the best musical qualities from the decade. One could never see Bob Dylan, Donovan, Chicago, and The Beach Boys on the same stage at once, but pressing play on this new record is pretty close. Costa masterfully mixes and matches until creating an album filled with tracks that could headline as the main single.
As the listener takes off his or her headphones at the conclusion of the album a few key things come to mind. First and foremost, Costa has made one of the year’s most enjoyable and easy to listen to albums so far. Second, the album secures Costa as one of this generation’s most talented singer songwriters, with songs that are both beautiful and heart breaking. It is certainly a difficult task creating songs that have an aesthetic and emotional appeal, but throughout the album the listener is shown that Costa is more than up to the task. Flaws on this album are very few and very far between the biggest of which, there simply are not enough songs to go around—the album is just a little too short. Good news, though—there is a deluxe version available on iTunes that offers four extra songs to keep the fans satisfied. The album should be a great platform to build his fan base, with songs that appeal not only to avid alternative listeners, but to appreciators of classic rock as well.