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Unfamiliar Faces

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Album Review

Matt Costa's sophomore effort, Unfamiliar Faces, finds the singer/songwriter delving into similar territory to his 2006 debut, Songs We Sing, crafting hummable, somewhat intricate AM pop-influenced tracks. As with other similarly inclined artists like Josh Rouse, Costa trades in a kind of grab bag, post-alternative rock singer/songwriter style that references '80s British icons like Morrissey and the Cure as much as it does classic singer/songwriter and sunshine pop touchstones like Todd Rundgren, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, and others. A pleasant presence on record, Costa's vocal style does bring to mind a mix of the Shins' James Mercer and the Decemberists' Colin Meloy, and admittedly his odd penchant for affecting a British accent is a bit annoying — he's from California for gosh sake. That said, tracks like "Mr. Pitiful" and "Cigarette Eyes" are immediately catchy and radio-ready singles that display Costa's obvious knack for Brit-pop-inspired songcraft. Similarly, such atmospheric and melancholy affairs as the very Smiths-sequel "Vienna" and countryish "Never Looking Back" are affecting and moving ballads perfect for the afterglow set.

Customer Reviews

30 seconds will do

Just bought the album after listening to the 30 sec clip of 'Mr Pitiful' Loved 'Songs We Sing' so had to buy this! Hugely talented guy. I'm into rowing at the moment so this will be my rowing album on the ipod. Thanks Matt.

Better than Songs We Sing!

Loved Mr Pitiful, but Lilacs is already my favourite. A cracking album with a truly amazing variety of songs. I wasn't sure about the first album Songs We Sing because i recognised so many influences, but Matt Costas made this one his own. Its great.

Proper All-rounder

He makes the only albums where every single song is actually stunningly good. And everyone else I have played them to agrees. And he's fit. What's not to love? (:


Born: 1982 in Huntington Beach, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born in Huntington Beach, California, in 1982, Matt Costa received his first guitar at age 12. While he was always interested in music, even playing in a band in high school, Costa's first love was skateboarding. His dreams of going pro came crashing to an end, however, when he seriously injured his leg in a skateboarding accident at 18. During his year-and-a-half-long rehabilitation period, Costa decided to refocus his energy on songwriting and guitar playing, and began using a four-track to make...
Full bio