Scott Matthew - Gallantry's Favorite Son Review
Posted by C.A. Bell on 02.14.2012
Scott Matthew is probably most famous as the voice behind some of modern anime's best songs. Find out if this new solo LP takes him to the next level.
Release Date: March 6, 2011 Running Time: 42:22 Label: Zoom/Glitterhouse Records Genre: Chamber Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter Drug of Choice: Opiates, Cognac Key Tracks:
"Devil's Only Child"
"No Place Called Hell"
Queensland, Australia's Scott Mathew has been around for awhile, mysteriously hiding within the margins since 2005. Yet somehow, he is probably best known for vocal contributions to the anime shows Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. His work has been compared to David Bowie delivering songs by Antony. While that comparison is fairly accurate, I think it underestimates his abilities as a songwriter. Matthew's work is reminiscent of 60s and 70s-era Pop songwriters like Burt Bacharach, David Ackles, and Paul Williams. But while his style is reminiscent of those artists, he doesn't appear to be beholden to them, freely selecting influences that serve each particular song best; humor from Williams here, balladry from Bacharach there, and dark simplicity from Ackles spiced throughout. Altogether, his approach brings fresh life to a genre long since given its death certificate.
I mention Mathew's lack of fame (in America, at least) as quizzical, because I think his work on Gallantry's Favorite Son is all-around more accessible than anything Antony has ever released. This is where I wish Bowie had gone in the 90s. Matthew is the kind of songwriter that actually makes you believe he can do whatever he wants and it will be listenable. The wonderful ballad "Black Bird" opens the record, but is just the beginning of a journey that I'm all too willing to take over and over again. This record is wonderful without ever straying too far into the pretentious, capitulating in the closing track "No Place Called Hell". The jaunty, dark humor of this track is a perfect end to the record. To me, this is what Destroyer was trying to do on Kaputt, but executed more successfully. Scott Mathew may not have a legion of loyal Indie fans stateside yet, but if Gallantry's Favorite Son is any indication of what is coming in the future, that will only take a matter of time. For now, he's made at least one convert. I like this. I like it a lot.
The 411: Scott Matthew could be reduced to an Antony pretender in Bowie's clothing, but that would be a tragic misrepresentation of just how good this singer/songwriter is. With Gallantry's Favorite Son, he walks a perfect line between the mainstream Pop of an age gone-by and the transcendent.