Scott Matthews - Elsewhere

It was a big surprise when Scott Matthews did his underdog best and walked away with an Ivor Novello in 2007 for his delicate ballad Elusive. Surprise why? Well, first off, he's from Wolverhampton - people from around here don't usually win awards, y'see. Secondly - actually, scratch that, there's no other reason why it shouldn't have won more awards. Sounding eerily reminiscent of Jeff Buckley but still with an identity of its own, the breakout track single-handedly represented Matthews' first album Passing Stranger, which went on to soundtrack X-rated indie Shortbus and cemented him as a local and national talent.

It's a shame then that Elsewhere loses much of the raggedy charm that made the debut stand out; gone are the unusual instrumental breaks and hippyish vibe, replaced by a pervading earnestness. The soulful voice is still there and he's even managed to rope in personal fan Robert Plant (who I wish would bloody put on his Kashmir jumper already) on the title track, but the bulk does tend to blend. It's pleasant in that 'background music' kinda way and may be a real grower but, while Buckley fans may rejoice in his similar tones, Tom McRae and Damien Rice still hold firm. Still, who knew a Wolves fan had it in him? Here's to, hopefully, a long career that garners more awards nods - for now though, Ivor #1 is surely gonna be alone on his Black Country shelf.



out of 10

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