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Scott Matthews - New Skin

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 9 / 6 / 2021

Scott Matthews - New Skin
Label: She Dio Records
Format: CD


Seventh album from singer-songwriter Scott Matthews finds the exceptional vocalist successfully exploring electronica.

Fifteen years since his debut album ‘Passing Stranger, singer-songwriter Scott Matthews releases his seventh album. Having picked up an Ivor Novello award for ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’ for his single ‘Elusive’, it appeared that Matthews had found his sound and was happy to stay with it. There was no denying that vocally Matthews stood out from the crowd; he painted soundscapes with his voice, and, although he could sound a little too close for comfort to certain other vocalists at times, it was obvious Matthews was not only a talented vocalist but also a songwriter of some worth. The ten songs that make up ‘New Skin’ were the result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Like so many musicians, Matthews was unable to tour or work with other musicians, and so he focused all his energies into producing what would become ‘New Skin’. The credits inform us that Matthews wrote, performed and recorded all the songs so we assume that all of the sounds heard throughout the album are of his own making. If that is so, then it’s an impressive collection Matthews has put together here. The album was mixed by Sean Genockey and mastered by Ed Woods, and the resulting sound is lush and heavenly. The leading song and title of the album are surely no coincidence; it appears that maybe the restrictions we are all suffering right now forced Matthews to take this route or maybe he felt it was time for a change anyway, but there are times when listening to ‘New Skin’ when you wonder if this is the same artist that made those earlier Scott Matthews albums. While his vocals have always had an ethereal quality, on earlier albums it wasn’t as pronounced as it is over these ten new songs. The title track points to change “- It’s going to take some time to break in the life of a new skin” -,and if Matthews is connecting those lyrics to this shift in his musical style then that time has already arrived. Although songs such as ‘Anniversary’ are blessed with gorgeous guitar, Matthews has shifted his overall sound to encompass electronica for ‘New Skin’. And while there are no low points on the album, ‘Anniversary’ shines out as a highlight. It is a modern love song which features Matthews’ otherworldly vocals combined with this new electronic leaning while still allowing traces of his former sound. The wordless vocals as the song closes are absolutely breathtaking. ‘Wait in the Car’ is cut from a similar cloth; again, those vocals are outstanding and the guitar that pulls the listener in is soon joined by nice synth touches; there’s a feeling at times that maybe Matthews has been listening to ‘80s pop prior to the making of this album. This is even more apparent on ‘The Tide,’ a moody ambient soundscape draped in electronica, again with nice electric guitar touches and an outstanding vocal performance from Matthews. There are songs that are more in keeping with his previous work. ‘Morning’ is one such song, Matthews really pouring out the emotion vocally. The whole album has a lovely laid-back vibe. It’s hardly a Friday night party album, but for those 3 a.m. moments when we turn to music for comfort and reassurance ‘New Skin’ can’t be beaten. It’s also a grower; its layers of beauty take time to unfold; but by the third listen you’ll be smitten. It was a brave move on Matthews’ part to diversify like this and move his music onto another plane, and he should be applauded for that. It’s certainly opened up his music to a wider audience, and shown that we should be keeping an eye (and ear) on his next project.

Track Listing:-
1 New Skin
2 Wait in the Car
3 My Selfless Moon
4 Anniversary
5 The Tide
6 Morning
7 Autopilot
8 Our Time
9 Intruders On Earth
10 The Light

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When the Night Delivers (2011)
Over played and self-indulgent third album from acclaimed Wolverhampton-born singer-songwriter, Scott Matthews

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