Matthew Doc Dunn shows why he’s a hidden Toronto gem on Lightbourn

Matthew "Doc" Dunn - LightbournCosmic RangeFolkRating: NNNNThrough his work with the hillbilly free-improv of the Transcendental Rodeo, the jazzy.


Rating: NNNN

Through his work with the hillbilly free-improv of the Transcendental Rodeo, the jazzy psych instrumental odysseys of the Cosmic Range and more recently on U.S. Girls soul-disco-inspired In A Poem Unlimited, Matthew Doc Dunn has cultivated a reputation for being an incredibly malleable performer. The singer/songwriters new solo album, Lightbourn, marks a departure from the spacy and the abstract and toward reined-in folk-rock, managing to still honour the Toronto artists wide-ranging sensibilities.

Its evident Dunn sees a continuum between roots and psychedelic music. Theres a warmth and familiarity to his music that reinforces those connections through sun-dappled organs, astral acoustic guitar and his wistful vocals. That warmth is the records through-line, leaving Dunn to show how expansive his take on folk can be.

For the most part, he handles the majority of the playing alone, though frequent collaborator Isla Craig and U.S. Girls Meg Remy provide some four-part harmonies. Remy helps deliver one of the most memorable moments, on the warped and wah-wah-heavy Mind Of My Lover of Mind Of My Lover. The nearly six-minute track builds on a freewheeling, loose repeated melody that becomes the centre around which minimal percussion, a bass groove, heady guitar and gilded organ intertwine with Dunn and Remys voices.

You really feel the punch of the songs maximalist climax when its followed by the stripped-down Simple One. The two tracks exist on opposite ends of Dunns sonic spectrum, but next to each other, they show how his mercurial tendencies are his greatest strength.

Top track: Mind Of My Lover

music@nowtoronto.com | @therewasnosound

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