Matthew and the Atlas - Other Rivers
Will the UK folk scene ever properly recover from the sonic crimes of Mumford & Sons? Of course it will, and here's Matthew and the Atlas' Matt Hegarty to make a confident case for the defence. On his Communion Records debut Other Rivers, Hegarty has produced an impressive showcase for both his eclectic musicality and ability as a vocal songwriter, successfully combining the poetic leanings of British folk into a modern musical context.
A wealth of instrumentation is hugely beneficial to its lasting appeal. On 'Counting Paths' the intervention of strings and keys upon an already established electronic drum style adds great momentum to his reflective declaration: “Well, if I could apologise / Put the lie back in you eyes/ Nobody's ever looked at me that way”. Driven by the unashamedly pretty rhythmic pairing of banjo and electronic drums, Hegarty's dense baritone on 'Pale Sun Rose' carries the oblique subject matter to a bitter-sweet high. Lyrically, inspiration has clearly been lifted heavily from songwriters like Bill Callahan and Will Oldham, with a pastoral masculinity projected throughout.
While our American brethren have continued to dominate the genre, the domestic scene has been met with undeserved apprehension. Matthew and the Atlas are the real deal. A cornerstone and a real asset to the British folk circuit.