Matthew Barber

True Believer (Outside)


Rating: NNN


While Jill Barber steered her own folk career in a completely new direction with the release of 2008’s over-the-top jazz-pop album, Chances, her brother Matthew has decided to stay steady and true to that thing he does so well – rootsy folk à la Tom Petty and the Band with a heavy side of melancholy.

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The Toronto singer/songwriter knows how to knock out classic-sounding tunes that are hummable and familiar, and that’s no easy feat. But there’s nothing new on offer here (either for the genre or Barber), and the album gets a bit poky in its final half.

That said, Comeback Baby near the start switches seamlessly between minimal bluesy, spoke-sung verses and full-blown impassioned pop choruses, complete with key change and banjo, and it works splendidly. Hawks On The Highway is like a long-lost Steve Earle track that injects the album with the oomph it craves, while Suddenly is a haunting, sparse closer.

Top track: Comeback Baby

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