CD REVIEW: Matt Burke Band - Pretty Close to Very Good
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Matt Burke Band let's it all hang out"
"perfect with a Corona & a beach bon fire
I INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Matt Burke Band
CD: Pretty Close to Very Good
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Heave Metal, Hard Rock
Sounds Like: Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, The Los Lonely Boys
Technical Grade: 9/10
The Matt Burke Band is traditionally a two piece operation fronted by Matt Burke with Brue Baker on Lead Guitar. With this album Matt & Brue have transcended their original sound with the material they have written over the years & enlisted the help of a few other musicians.
Logging in at just over 38 minutes the CD gently takes flight with “The Weekend War” a soothing acoustic lullaby that serves up steady rock rythem, catchy vocal melodies, & grand slam chorus. This intro track sets the tone for the entire CD, with it’s feel good groove & soothing tropical, Spanish aftertaste - perfect for a Corona & beach bon fire. Track 2 “One Step at A Time” dishes out yet another impressive track with its driving rock rhythms, & addictive vocal melodies from Burke. Track 3 “Cover to Cover” serves up yet another solid track with clever lyrical content, driving melodies& & impressive vocal accents again from Burke. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Jason Mraz, Blues Traveler, Dave Mathews Band, The Los Lonely Boys, & even a dash of Submime, a Jack Johnson. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety, & strong melodic structure. I would classify this music as acoustic pop rock, with a slight aftertaste of alternative folk. The songs themselves are addictive, & upbeat, complete with positive, carefree subject matter. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. The players themselves write, & play there parts extremely well. I especially like all the acoustic guitar solos throughout the CD. Along the way you will notice lush layers of instrumentation. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like steel drum, impressive keyboard, Spanish guitar, & moog accents layered along the way. Equally as impressive is the vocal presence of Matt Burke. Burke takes many vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong & confident vocal ability. His voice sounds in the vein of Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), Ed Kowalczyk (Live) & even Adam Duritx (Counting Crows) .For the record his falsettos are flawless. If Burke just so happened to write all these songs – well he could be bigger than any of us realize. He clearly is a premier talent within this project & pound for pound possesses a lot of musical talent. All songs are short & sweet musical experiences, never too winded, never to short. From my personal favorite “Superstar” to passionate “School”, to rocking “Moonshine Porcelain” to clever “White Collar Blues” to grooving “Fading Faces” & “Another Sad Song” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD Ends with Track 10 “The Ride” a perfect finale statement for a CD that doesn’t have a weak song on it’s entire catalogue.
It's hard to find any notable weaknesses with this CD. At 38 minutes it’s fair to say the CD is just a bit short. Perhaps 2 or3 more songs would really seal the deal for me & make it a grand slam musical catalogue. Also to go with the tropical, Spanish guitar vibe perhaps some percussive elements would be in order. I also wish there were a few more vocal harmonies here & there as the music really calls for it.
“Pretty Close to Very Good” is an impressive musical production from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, & the messages are upbeat & sung from a deeply carefree perspective. It’s strong suit – the solid consistency & musical warmth of Matt Burke. He possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. Like the aforementioned, there isn’t a weak song on this entire CD. The musicianship is first rate, the vocals, dynamic phrasing, & melodic accents are brilliantly placed & extremely well crafted. The Matt Burke Band let’s it all hang out musically on the CD & has clearly proven themselves with this debut release. From start to finish “Pretty Close to Very Good” is well - pretty close to Very Good to say the least..
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