EP REVIEW: Matthew Genovese - Chasing the Sun (EP)
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Americana, Rock, R&B, Folk
Sounds Like: Counting Crows, Cracker, Gin Blossoms and Buddy Miller
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Weakness: More solo segments, More vocal emotion, EP release
Hollywood based Singer/Songwriter Matthew Genovese (originally from Toronto, Canada) just released his latest EP entitled “Chasing the Sun” this fall. His new record marks a significant step forward for Genovese. He is venturing into new musical territory while keeping one foot firmly grounded in the sound he established in earlier releases.
The CD kicks off the ground nicely with Track 1, “If I Can’t Have You”, a heartfelt flowing ballad that serves up an earthy guitar-driven groove, meshed against a walking bass line, effective harmonies, and a soulful melody from Genovese. Track 2, “Strange Paradise”, shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing rhythm and well placed Americana-Folk ambience painted against a grand slam chorus, making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3, “Time’s Tickin’ Away” is another impressive groove that dishes out a rock steady R&B rhythm and great vocal harmonies against a grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a strong first impression, dashing out 3 very solid songs in a row. The musicianship involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop/Americana, with brief touches of Modern Country, and even Saloon Jazz and R&B. Genovese’s music is reminiscent of classic Counting Crows, Cracker, Gin Blossoms and Paul Simon. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with Fiddles, Organ, Banjo, Trumpet, Pedal Steel, Rhythm Guitar, well placed Piano, sporadic Percussion, impressive Organ, and lush harmonies all built upon a ‘thick as a brick’ rhythm section. What I like the most about Genovese and his band, is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Genovese. As for his vocal abilities - well he’s a great advent for the Singer/Songwriter genre. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timbre that is infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - World Class Songwriting. This EP teaser from Matthew Genovese delivers 5 solid timeless tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Matthew Genovese has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From the rock steady “Nothing That I Do”, to the perfect and heartfelt finale, “Time Won’t Heal Me”, this EP has something for just about everyone.
It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this release. I do however wish there were more extended solo segments throughout the catalog. I also recommend Genovese bring more vocal emotion to the table on some of his performances by providing more vocal peaks and valleys within the delivery. Just listen to Joe Cocker’s “You are so Beautiful” or R.E.M’s “Hairshirt” to see what I’m talking about. At the end of the day people don’t buy paper and plastic, they buy emotion. It's a critical component especially within this genre. I look forward to Genovese’s future releases showcasing, even more, his slow, heart-stopping emotional writing style and his pin drop vocal skills. I also typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The full-length release is a more complete snapshot to judge an artist or band by at any given point in time.
From start to finish, "Chasing the Sun”, by Matthew Genovese, is an impressive collection of music. The songwriting is gold standard – full of consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song, there isn’t really a weak piece in this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Genovese and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old-fashioned conventional wisdom. At the end of the day Matthew Genovese brings the mojo, and is clearly a marquee talent. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him over the years to come. I look forward to checking out the full length CD soon!