Matthew Show
"Texas"

(Naive Music 2003)Matthew Show - Texas

If you do not listen close, it would be easy to get the impression that "Texas" is a nice album. And it would be easy to think that the Matthew Show, a one man band made up by Matthew, is just as nice, especially to have recorded such a nice album. In fact, "Texas" even includes a "slight warning: the language on this album is for grownups. Mind the kiddies' ears." Is not that nice? But, when you listen closer, past the soft melodies and catchy guitar, you find out that Matthew is just like everybody else.

Aptly opening with the short lived "Theme from "˜Texas,'" the song is quickly followed by the real opener, "Bring Me Safely Down," a memorable and melodic ballad with crisp vocals. Slightly more up tempo with a poppy chorus and ending with a self indulgent yet relatively understated jam segment. "Office Suite, Part I" recounts a day at work: "Yeah, carpal tunnel sucks, but I'm never on my feet/If the meeting could last just five minutes more/My brain would atrophy and I would melt into the floor;" the song's monotone spoken vocal delivery reminds Cake's John McCrea or Butthole Surfers' "Pepper." Matthew returns to his ballad style, this time adding violin on the somber "Symbiotic Angel."

Matthew's cover of Phil Collins' "The Roof is Leaking" shows a different side of the album, more raw sounding. Opening "Office Suite, Part II" with a familiar sounding bass riff, this sequel ponders what to say to superiors at work. More upbeat the mid tempo "The Loneliest Boy In Toyland" has a bit of bite to its lyrics as Matthew asks "Why do you do what you do to be the loneliest boy in Toyland?" "Mountaintop 4th of July" is soft and melodic and the quiet "Reprise" offers a quick reflective break. Matthew Show's "Union Station," a relaxed and rollicking tune, offers a strong closer.

Staying in the middle of the road for a majority of the album, "Texas" never demands your attention like it should until the end. Instead, Matthew Show has a much more laid back attitude. Granted, Matthew sings openly, never sounding like he's restraining what he really wants to say, and sometimes bitterly and angrily. But the songs which make up the album are nearly all ballads or melodic mid tempo tunes, a fact that might discourage some listeners. But what "Texas" does have is understated instrumentation and honest lyrics that shine through.

B

buy it!