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It's Heavy in Here

Eric Matthews

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Album Review

One of the finest debut albums of the 1990s, It's Heavy in Here brings forth to the public a new artist fully grown, refined, and with an undeniable attitude of exploration. Indeed, a heady combination, but Eric Matthews delivers in grand style with 14 gems that sparkle like rare tiaras. Mixing elements of classical, pop, jazz, and a bit of folk, the songs are well-crafted mosaics, and grab the listener with a slightly narcotic tug of the sleeve. Influences ranging from Colin Blunstone (the vocals) to Bernard Herrmann (string arrangements) give the entire affair a stately grace. "Three Cornered Moon" is a great example of this, with its waltz-time feel and arrangement that crosses chamber music with an almost Chet Baker, West Coast cool jazz flavor. Other tracks, such as the brilliant "Fanfare" (which one writer described as "the 'Penny Lane' of the 1990s"), are more direct and immediate in their mellifluousness, yet retain an air of mystery, with Matthews using words as musical instruments, juggling insights with a wonderful sense of style that is slightly reminiscent of Van Dyke Parks. In the end though, despite all of the influences mentioned, Eric Matthews is his own man and artist, and this album is a seamless cornerstone to a catalog that is (one can only hope) unfolding.

Biography

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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