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The Lateness of the Hour

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Album Review

Displaying an increased sense of songcraft and sharper arrangements, The Lateness of the Hour takes the virtues of Eric Matthews' debut, It's Heavy in Here, and amplifies them, resulting in a richer, fuller album. Where its predecessor only made a passing acknowledgment of rock, there's more guitar on The Lateness of the Hour, and it has a less orchestral feel — the strings and horns are used as coloring, accentuating the songs in the style of swinging '60s pop. Matthews still has a problem with writing provocative lyrics, but his melodicism is at a peak. Each song has a memorable melody which is surrounded by rolling guitars, lush strings, and sweet brass. The best songs have an effortless grace, while even the weaker moments are enjoyable because of the lavish arrangements. Matthews might be too precious for some listeners — his voice is almost inhumanly fey and breathy — but, on the basis of The Lateness of the Hour, there's little denying that he is developing into a first-rate songwriter and arranger.


Born: 1969 in Compton, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The work of Eric Matthews was a direct reaction to the lo-fi recording practices so prevalent throughout the alternative music scene of the 1990s; while many of the decade's artists trafficked in a defiantly ragged, do-it-yourself aesthetic, Matthews' records grew out of orchestral theories and practices, and revelled in the stately elegance of warm harmonies and lush arrangements. A native of Gresham, OR, Matthews was born in 1969 and fell in love with the symphonic pop of the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach,...
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