Matt Costa’s full length debut album Songs We Sing
has hues of nostalgic folk, contemporary pop, psychedelic funk, grassroots country, and 50’s rock. At twenty-three year old, Matt displays a visceral appreciation for music that was popular before he was born and presents it with a love for its chord structures and a focus to touch people.
Working with Matt was No Doubt’s guitarist Tom Dumont who produced the album and Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, The Shins) who engineered and mixed the tracks. The result is an album that utilizes Matt’s full range of tonality with lyrical themes covering love, loss, dreams, growth, nature’s impact on relationships, emotional changes, and struggles. There is a communal aspect streaming through Matt’s music that makes it something which should be shared like the Burning Man festivities performed in the middle of the desert of Nevada. It’s music for such communal gatherings.
Matt’s use of symbolism in his lyrics has a spiritual quality like in his words for the opening track “Cold December,” about a partner who has given up on the relationship when the other one is still holding onto the memories.
I’ve been waiting pacing along the halls ever since you’ve left here
I’ve been cleaning scrubbing the plates and weeding out the garden dear
I can’t fall asleep to your mystery slowly blowing from the shore
I have not failed to be what you’d expected of me
Swallowing glass just to stay pure
All the birds are heading down south but you’re staying up north you say
I’ve got jackets, blankets and sheets, It’s going to be a Cold December
It could be warm you see, a statue next to me
Swimming away from the ice and snow
Could I have failed to see all the signs in front of me
Warning and flashing symbols subtle and simple
I couldn’t see, I couldn’t see
If only time could slow down and maybe I could come up
It’s such a Cold December
Matt’s songs shows a recurring theme of holding onto someone who has gone away, and he is musing through the memories to discover why and wishing that everything would just come back to him. His phrasings are descriptive and haunting and affixed by connective verses that transition the passages evenly. He loops the instrument segments so the listener always returns to the beginning of the track.
Matt fashions fluctuating vocal drives and pitches on the country-tinged number “Sweet Rose” and the pop/rock ditty “Ballad of Miss Kate,” which has a thick bass drum beat that bulges through the melodic lines. The country-western tune “Songs We Sing” carries an underlying umbra of glaring organ shadows. “Oh Dear” and “Behind The Moon” has a Beatles-esque rhythm with the latter using a shingled chord structure to layer the instrument pieces on top of each other. The folksy/pop fixings on the final track “Wash Away” show reflections of 70’s pop tunes by The Mamas and The Papas with a contemporary sonorous reminiscent of the melodic rock band Transcendence.
Matt Costa’s musicality to shape chord patterns and vocal melodies to represent his needs display elements used by male solo artists like James Blunt, Michael Buble, and Stephen Malkmus, and female artists like Joss Stone and Hope Partlow who take the handle on their melodies and maneuver the wheel where they want to take it. Matt Costa works with his strengths and stays in a circumscribed zone.
Matt Costa is currently on tour and scheduled to play the Coachella Valley Music Festival.