By Debbie Steir
Former metal frontman, Matt Mitchell (PRIDE/Furyon/Colour of Noise) has put out a solo project and revealed his softer side to the world. Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts self-titled album was released 31 May 2019 via MMRecording Works (yes, the MM stands for Matt Mitchell). This is a full-length album featuring twelve tracks with a runtime of approximately 43:53. I’ll be honest. I had to “google” him but from what I was finding of him with previous bands I was liking what I heard. I had hope; however, following suit with Sully Erna (Godsmack) and Jonathan Davis (Korn) I found it to be so different from what I knew.
Matt Mitchell stated in press material this about his album: “I’m aware that sometimes an album is just for the love of rock n’ roll and I do love that. It’s on my agenda. It could be a song about a car, or thunder and lighting. However, the main stories on this album are all about people. The people that have been part of my life, the people that have loved, cared, nurtured, hurt, inspired, broken, stayed strong, lost themselves, found themselves. Family, friends, honesty, dishonesty, music and the music business, integrity and faith. The songs in this self-titled album are inspired by all these things.” Trying to keep all that in mind I pressed “play”.
The first track on the album is ‘Black Diamonds’. It opens with a nice little guitar riff which is joined by the unmistakable sound of the Hammond organ (a sound popularized by rock legends Jon Lord (Deep Purple) and Rick Wakeman (Yes)). Now add in some great guitar solos, rhythmic transitions, and range of well-sung vocals and it’s a pretty fun song. Track two, ‘Home’, started and immediately reminded me of the Americana rock sound of Tom Petty and track three, ‘On & On’, had a similar sound but then seemed more like an amalgamation of Bryan Adams and Avenged Sevenfold the more I listened to it. Track four, ‘Dare You to Watch’, touches on the topic of mental health and feeling stuck in the past making it hard to move forward but is really rather unremarkable and I found the chorus to be slightly irritating. Track five is ‘Kings & Queens’ and this one also fell flat on me. I have this made up genre I call ‘3 o’clock in the Afternoon Headache’ for songs like this. The Wallflowers ‘One Headlight’ is in that genre. Track six, ‘Unavailable’, came on and I thought finally a song with a bit more going for it. It’s a little more driven and the guitar solo gave it some life.
Now delighted that I’m halfway through I start listening to track seven ‘Do You Wanna Be My God?’. I read this one is about the music business and the rat race. It has a catchy little chorus and guitar solo; however, still sounds very much like previous tracks. Also falling into this niche were tracks eight, nine and ten – ‘Old Enough & Ugly Enough’, ‘Wave Goodbye’, and ‘Everything to You’, respectively. Track eleven, ‘Keep Me Safe’ woke me up with the sound of the lap steel – such a beautiful instrument and a pleasant surprise like the Hammond. Finally, track twelve. ‘Waiting for the Sun’. What stood out to me most were the vocals on this one. I’ll just say I haven’t heard vocals like this since the days of Zebra and ‘Who’s Behind the Door?’
Overall it IS a good album. I would definitely recommend this album to someone looking for the “Americana” sound or adult contemporary rock. Matt Mitchell is a very competent and creative artist. I love his use of varying instruments. There’s even cello and trumpet thrown in the mix. The Coldhearts are Mauro Laconi/guitars, Dom Ladd/bass, Matt Cherry/drums, and Stevie Watts/keys. Truly a bunch of talented musicians in their own right as well. Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts are out on tour in the U.K. at present. For album, tour and merchandise info head on over to their Facebook page or better yet Spotify for a listen.
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