Matt Corby - Telluric

Matt Corby – Telluric

I first became aware of Matt Corby when a friend send me his cover of the Black Keys’ ‘Lonely Boy’ on an Australian radio station. I was blown away by his musicality, as well as his vocal control and range. I began listening to more and more of his EPs and loved his soulful sound and acoustic, folk vibe.

‘Telluric’ serves as his debut album and is a step away from this sound, introducing a blend of pop, jazz and funk with groove, foot-tapping rhythm and almost gospel sounds in parts. In my last review (Laura Gibson), I spoke about the lacking of an X factor, that something you can’t quite put your finger on, something that makes you love the music you listen to. This album has it. Every song is beautifully crafted and feels very organic, as if written by great musicians in a room just jamming on ideas and morphing them into complete songs.

The opening 3 or 4 tracks are statements in this new sound. ‘Belly Side Up’ is a strangely psychedelic tune, packed with quirky sounds forming generally relaxed sound with irresistible groove and feel. It sets the tone for the album, as well as giving it room to grow and expand into the next few tracks. ‘Monday’ is the consequent track and is a platform for Corby to show off his expert vocal ability. Built through the layering of vocal harmony as with a loop pedal, the track is comprised entirely of voice and some extremely sparse percussive elements. This is really where he begins to expand his voice and we get a deeper flavour of what’s to come.

‘Knife Edge’ is one of my absolute favourite songs I’ve heard so far this year. You cant help but tap your foot and nod your head during the opening groove as the bassline is established. This then is interjected with the most expansive chorus of the album. Exploring the higher end of harmony and instrumentation, the backing seems to float around the vocal line, allowing the melody to shine through the high hat and washy guitar chords. This is a sound which is echoed across the album (listen to ‘Sooth Lady Wine’ and the finale, ‘Empires Attract’).

A point of difference on the album is the slower ‘Good to be Alone’, and is the track which most reflects his old sound. It is an achingly beautiful, lamenting song about loneliness and the ending of a friendship or relationship. The track is based around a clean electric guitar sound and more astonishing vocal work. It stands out to me as the whole thing is based around feel and musicality, as if he hasn’t recorded to a click track at all. The guitar is utterly flawless, and the introduction of any other instrument is just simply unnecessary, it is conveyed stunningly with just the two lines.

Corby’s voice is central to the musical success of this album. He has a control over it which allows softness at the lower end and yet has the power to expand and hit his high notes with power and vigour. Perhaps he can be accused over over-singing from time to time, yet I would argue this is merely a product of the organic nature of the whole album, it sounds like he is singing straight out of the practice room – still featuring all the little improvised runs which end phrases. The soft falsetto is my favourite element of his voice, however, used on tracks like ‘Good to be Alone’ or ‘Oh Oh Oh’ to great effect.

This is an album packed with genuine musicianship and an infectious ‘dance-ability’. It is an example of an artist looking inwards and exploring things that he alone wants to write and play, fulfilling himself as a musician. In doing so, he has created a brilliantly crafted album, full of fantastic tracks comprising moments of genius. So far, the best album of 2016 for me.

Release Date 11th March 2016 (Atlantic Records)


Will Lawton

I am a third year music student at the University of Leeds and am passionate about experiencing music. In my view, being able to hear, see and appreciate the human involvement in playing an instrument or singing is the most important thing.