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The Imagination Stage

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Album Review

Eric Matthews sounds rejuvenated on The Imagination Stage, only his fifth album in a dozen years but the third in relatively quick succession for the Empyrean label. But just when fans could start to worry that too much of Matthews' work was flooding the marketplace, he's broadened his palette, stretching the boundaries and beginning to work in more intriguing shades. Sometimes it's with a simple technique, as on the several instrumental passages that allow listeners to focus on the clever arrangements (and not worry about Matthews' usually similar-sounding vocals). But often it's the interwoven arrangements, harmonies, and interesting instrument choices that make The Imagination Stage such a wonderful record, encompassing everything from a tastefully bashing drum kit to an analog drum program to the type of subdued brass that has been a hallmark of Matthews' work since he debuted in 1995.


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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The Imagination Stage, Eric Matthews
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