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Album Review

It's never been easy to pin Matt Johnson down. He's always come across as intense and dark, but much of his music is melodic and airy. He managed to turn his gentle rage into a masterpiece on 1990's Mind Bomb, and captured heat on record with Dusk. But there's no new ground broken on NakedSelf.

Overall, it is a hit-and-miss affair. The opener, "Boiling Point," is a slow build that never seems to hit stride, but "Shrunken Man" is a solid number with well-timed production. Matt has always had a good ear for melody, and most of the songs here are no exception. Tracks like "December Sunlight," "Global Eyes," and "Phantom Walls" float hand in hand with his airy vocals.

If the album proves anything, it's that Matt has learned that he should never work alone. The band he assembled here is tight and flows well with Johnson's melodic sensibilities. The strong points on NakedSelf are not hard to find, but they are subtle. And while it is a solid collection of songs, The The have shone brighter.


Formed: 1979 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The The was the guise of Matt Johnson, a mercurial singer/songwriter whose music ran the gamut from dance-pop to country. Born August 15, 1961, in London, Johnson was raised in the flat above his father's pub, the Two Puddings, a haven for well-known celebrities and criminals; he also became exposed to music at the nightclubs and dancehalls owned by his uncle, where he saw performers like Howlin' Wolf, the Kinks, and Muddy Waters. Johnson formed his first band, Roadstar, when he was 11; at the age...
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NakedSelf, The The
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