Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

John Matthias

Stories from the Watercooler

(Ninja Tune; US: 24 Jun 2008; UK: 2 Jun 2008)

To this point, I had yet to hear anything that made me truly glad UK hip-hop superpower Ninja Tune founded a rock sublabel, but Stories From the Watercooler is it. Produced by the infamous label-owning Coldcut duo themselves, the sophomore album from John Matthias makes its case with attainable lyrics surely relevant to office debate, driving folk guitar, wistful violin, and a touch of banjo, accordion, and the like. Tracks like “Spinnaker” and “Blind Lead The Blind” go so far as to introduce some alternative rock and new wave electricity, but the record usually concerns itself with campfire folk and post-apocalyptic roots. It’s like Tom Waits meets Fink, with a little Gary Numan thrown in for flavor. Interesting to note, John was an old college buddy of Thom Yorke, chumming it up enough with the Radioheader to play in a band with him and later contribute some violin to The Bends. Though Thom obviously achieved a greater level of success, I find John’s alienated, deadpan growls and electric influences come across that much more compelling and engaging. Watercooler succeeds where Eraser left me wanting. It’s a class effort all the way, and one you too will be thankful for.

Rating:

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


Tagged as: coldcut | john matthias
Media
John Matthias Live
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.