Matt Corby’s Telluric | Album Review


When I first listened to Matt Corby’s first full-length album I was disappointed. I just did not like his album after the first listen. I was upset because I thought I was a fan. I had subscribed to his newsletter like 2 years ago and was highly anticipating his album because each email kept saying “it’s coming, just wait.” So after listening to it the first time I figured maybe I wasn’t really paying attention to it and decided to listen to it again in a different setting. The results? I still didn’t like it.

It wasn’t until the third listen that I actually started feeling something from the album as a whole and not just two songs. Then on the fourth listen I started recognizing little things about individual songs that I didn’t notice originally. With each listen the songs just kept getting better and so now I finally get to give my full review on it.

I guess the initial problem when listening to this album was that I was expecting more songs to sound like “Brother” or “Resolution”.  These are songs from the Australian artist’s previous EPs that have gained him most of his fan-base including me. Even after hearing all of his EPs these were still my favorite songs from Corby. It’s something about these songs that were just easy. I understood his lyrics, the arrangements weren’t creative and they made me feel good. So when I heard songs like “Knife Edge”, “Monday”, and “We Could Be Friends” I wasn’t feeling it because I had already placed Corby in a box. And me being an advocate of not putting people in boxes, it’s a shame that I did so to him.

You see, what Matt Corby shows us through Telluric is that he can’t be placed in a box and mind you he’s not verbally making this statement in his songs, no it’s just a conclusion you come to after analyzing the album. Matt Corby is one heck of a talented man and he likes to experiment with his talent. I guess the first time I really noticed this was when I saw the live performance of “Trick of the Light”. He layered in that song and throughout Telluric he continues layering on his voice but not too much where it becomes annoying. Corby’s layer captures you in the most unexpected ways, drawing you in from whatever world you’re living in and into the oceanic blues, whites, and yellows of this mystic sea-breeze that his being seems to be floating in.

Corby knows how to find the balance and that’s not just for layering but also when it comes to vocalizing or playing. Let’s take “Empires Attraction”, the last song off of Telluric. “No one’s going to save you”, Corby repeats throughout the song, getting louder and louder each time. But there’s a bar, if you get too loud people are going to be over your song and Corby knows that. Corby knows that it’s not even about trying to keep people listening to your song, it’s about getting people to understand the poetry of the song. So he’s going to repeat some things and he’s going to raise his voice at some points only to fade into a raspy hush so you can understand that the meaning has changed.

It’s as if Corby is saying let’s get crazy but don’t let people know we’re getting crazy. Corby is cool in that way. Just like in “Wrong Man” in which he’ll give a strong vocal blow, but then gently end it with his soulful whispers. He’s cool about the way he sings his songs. He’s not rushing the moment but enjoying everything about it as it passes.  But that doesn’t bore the listeners it draws them in because there is still something about his voice that makes you want to put in the effort to hear him out. Corby knows when to cut it off. He doesn’t let the sounds in his song drag on too long. For example, in “We Could Be Friends” just when you thought it was going to be a chill, club smoking blues song Corby switches it up for an up-tempo pop-rock-funk jam. Or even in “Oh Oh Oh”, anyone could make the repetitions of “oh oh oh” grow old and annoying, but instead Corby makes it necessary. Everything about his arrangements flow and aren’t forced to fit in. He’s cool that way.

Even with songs like “Sooth Lady Wine” Corby shows this cool, wise karate-master side of him. It’s got the 70s, psychedleic stoner twang, but it’s still got the confident, lover twang as well. Corby has sides to show and that could end up being a messy thing. Despite all of the sides that Corby can show he manages to paint one cohesive picture with Telluric. It’s bass-driven psychedelic, blues and funk album that, as Paste Magazine writer Saby Reyes-Kulkarni says, isn’t after your hips but your heart.

Overall: 8/10 (maybe that’ll change after time)
Favorite Tracks: “Knife Edge”, “Empires Attraction”, “Oh Oh Oh”, “We Could Be Friends”, “Sooth Lady Wine”


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