After graduating from WAAPA in 2010 as the Most Outstanding Contemporary Music Student, Australian and precisely Perth-based Pop/ R&B singer-songwriter, Matt Allen, wrote and recorded his debut album, “Over”. The album’s title track received 8th place in the prestigious 2012 Australian Songwriting Awards, whilst the lead off tune, “Stay The Night” was awarded a Runner Up in the 2012 International Song Contest. Allen recently released his follow up EP ‘Last Time’ and we caught up with the single, “Last Time”. Matt Allen’s music succeeds at capturing your attention because it’s groove-based, which is to say, it’s neither pop-based nor logic-based. Those elements are there but they’re not the overwhelming factors in making a mid-tempo funky swinger like “Ride The Moment”, or the heartfelt slow-burner like “Last Time” captivating. It’s the groove in Allen’s voice that will ultimately convince you.
Matt Allen works wonders with his music, highlighting empty spaces and filling them with reverberating vocals, and his performances are always soulful without losing heft or being over melodramatic.
But the main job of Pop and R&B music – and this is where it so often fails – is making the same old tropes sound fresh, and Allen certainly does that here.
Listen to how the beat on “Last Time” searches and searches and finally finds what it is looking for, following the storyline and lyrics of the song. That is how you create a cohesive project in all its artistic facets, which testifies to how well-versed Allen is in the composition and arranging of his songs.
The song’s production and beat, Matt Allen’s voice and delivery, as well as the strident guitar solo – come together in a way that makes it sound anything but dumb R&B. In fact Matt delivers an exciting song within a genre that has recently become very stale and clichéd.
And what’s more is that the listener pressured into qualifying the song as a guilty pleasure. It is immaculately and exuberantly crafted, with a real respect for those who have come before; it is music as tribute, music as love.
In every song on which he sings you can hear how seriously Matt Allen takes this whole music thing, and you can also tell that — as a natural performer — he’s actually really, really good at it. “Last Time” solidifies his legitimacy as an individual artist, and confirms that he needs to be seen as an artist who’s thoughtful and creative with a sound that is as exciting as it is accessible.
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Author: Rick Jamm
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