Australian Singer/songwriter Matt Corby released his debut album Telluric in March. Musically interesting and full of some good little ideas, this album shows great promise and makes effective use of several interesting musical elements, even if it at times feels like these elements aren’t going anywhere.
There are plenty of songs out there which, were they to be played on the radio, I certainly wouldn’t turn off or over; but nor would I turn the radio up either. Unfortunately, Telluric feels as though it has its unfair share of songs like this. It is perfectly pleasant music to listen to in the background, perhaps while you’re sifting through your email inbox or debating what to eat for lunch, but it’s not the kind of music I personally would choose to listen to on my way to work. There is little material on the album which suggests something ‘groundbreaking’, nor is there a hook which you might pick up on which suddenly connects the listener to the music.
That’s not to say this isn’t good music – quite the opposite, in fact.
There are plenty of instances on Telluric where you have to pause whatever you’re doing and admire what’s going on from a musical point of view. Monday is a great example of this: simple layering of voices (all Corby, thanks to the effective use of a loop pedal), an almost minimalist structure and harmonic landscape, and a pleasant, flowing melody all combine to what is for me, the highlight of the album. It would have been nice if many of these elements which Corby explores during Monday could be developed further as the song – or even the album – proceeds, even if that had meant increasing the run time of some songs beyond the average 4 minute mark.
On listening to Telluric, I find myself echoing sentiments I voiced after seeing his live performance at the Roundhouse last month. Corby is a formidable musical talent, and yet a significant amount of Telluric feels a little too repetitive and lacking a clear direction. His songs work as standalone pieces of music, yet once they’re placed side-by-side in an album, they lose some of their charm and interest. In much the same way that I expect Corby’s stage presence to grow and develop as his career progresses, so too do I expect Corby’s repertoire to grow and develop with him.
Telluric is available now on Atlantic Records.