Matinee Album reviews.
Release Date: early 2002
Record label: BeautyRock Records
Music for the Afternoon
by: bill aicher
In the most rare of instances you'll find an album that, when you listen to it, makes you feel both sad and guiltily pleased. Sad, because it's just so good, but chances are that no one else will hear it. Guilty, because it's just so good, and you're one of the only people who knows about it. It's your key to cool, the one trump card you can play to show all your music fan friends that you remain one step ahead of them.
This is the part where I play my trump card - Torben Floor's studio debut, Matinee.
First things first: any album that when you play it, people stop in your office and ask "Who's that? It's really good!" or when they're at your house or in your car ask the same thing - that's a great album.
Again - Torben Floor's Matinee.
Hailing from the Chicagoland area, Torben Floor is a band of twenty-somethings that considers itself from the "old school." Incorporating a slew of musical styles, from Jeff Buckley to Wilco to Neil Young to Radiohead, they've come up with a style that remains all their own. Perhaps it's the honesty of Carey Ott's lyrics. Or perhaps it's the tremendous amount of musical skill and passion that's apparent throughout the album. Nevertheless, Matinee is about as strong as debuts come.
As an album opener, the straight-rocker "Ahead of Your Time," brings the listener in as soon as Ott's vocals drop. It's a spot-on entry, and his original vocal style lures the listener in; not gently like the siren, but rather like the rocks that can bring your ship down. From here on, the album continues on a trend of superb songwriting and musicianship.
"Midwest Distress" paints a lifelike portrait of the want every midwesterner has for sunrays and ocean waves: "Midwest distress has got you landlocked at best I'd guess / Midwest distress has got you thinking West for good I guess." The crashing crescendos and intricate melodies of "Claustro Crowded" showcase the band's tremendous personal connections. You can sense there's an innate understanding between the band members, like the music always existed, they just had to let it out.
The confessional "Sunbathing," which made an early appearance on Torben Floor's Live Music in the Apartment, also returns on Matinee. This time in full form, it's perhaps the most beautiful piece of rock music you'll hear in 2002.
Still, the floaty guitars, lonely muted drums, and simple honesty of "Everything" make "Everything" the album's true gem.
At a time when bands like Travis and Coldplay are making some of the most interesting music in rock, it's good to see an American band putting them all to task.
It's like Fran Healy got dropped off in middle America.
And it's already one of the best albums you'll (hopefully) hear in 2002. 19-Feb-2002 5:30PM