Cameron Matthews:

[12 March 2009]

By Aarik Danielsen

Only 20 years old, Cameron Matthews brings a remarkable presence, unique gifts and loads of potential to his second record. Matthews’ press material likens his work to a meet-up between Jeff Buckley and the Cold War Kids; additionally, he cites bonafide singer-songwriter influences: Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan. Yet the St. Louis native seems almost incomparable, hard to peg down, showcasing an eccentric style and a worldliness that belies his age.

Matthews moves seamlessly between folk, rock and textures, often weaving like-minded yet distinct elements together. Whether ballad or rocker, Matthews and his band understand how to construct a groove, let each song have a natural ebb and flow and allow his wonderfully peculiar songwriting to shine. Among the record’s best cuts are the folky, funky “Park Bench and City Boy Shooter” (an uptempo cut that references Charlie Parker and Jesus Christ in the same breath), “Give You Up for Lent”, a soulful, piano-based cut which features one of Matthews’ best melodies and the satisfying “Bungalow” which matches yearning lyrics and a carefree acoustic glide.

At fifty-eight minutes, feels a bit overstuffed by track #15, the closing “Current Is Too Slow to Master”. And, at times, the musical quirks which he uses to accent a song overtake it, dulling the quality. Undeniably, though, Matthews triumphs far more than he stumbles and puts listeners on notice that he has a long, fruitful career ahead.

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