With the sort of experience that Matt Boroff has in his hands, you might feel like you should have heard of him, especially since he has shared stages with giants of rock, Queens of the Stone Age, Calexico and even Nirvana!
The Nirvana gig was back in the day when Matt was playing with his high school band, but since then he has performed under a number of guises, forming Matt Boroff and the Mirrors, with whom he enjoyed success, and now he has embarked on a solo project with his new album 'Grand Delusion'.
'What A Shame' is the first single from the new record and it displays Boroff's alt-rock sound at its most powerful, driven by walls of distortion and Matt's deadly baritone.
Boroff shows his vocal range too, opening the song softly before unleashing the animal inside him during the chorus as he screams the song's title. A noodling, western style guitar breaks up waves of distortion, providing a considered and unusual contrast that works surprisingly well.
Having dropped big names already in this review, I won't do it any more, but clever listeners will recognise similarities between QOTSA, Nirvana and Matt. There's a distinct early 90s sound, taking on the heavy elements of grunge, but there's glimpses of gentleness too, particularly through the lyricism. For example, 'Your air-conditioned wax museum is melting in a heat wave' conjures a graphic, quite horrifying image (especially if you've seen House of Wax), but these cryptic lyrics are not just for show, there is meaning behind them.
The album as a whole addresses complex themes such as greed, nationalism and war mongering, so one can admire the way that Matt discusses these in such a profound manner. His lyrics invite debate and provoke thought, rather than just being forgotten in the background.
If the video for 'What A Shame' is anything to go by, Matt is quite the performer, too. He oozes charisma, handling his guitar as if he were taming a wild stallion and this confidence is mirrored through his confident songwriting and lyrics.
Overall, 'What A Shame' resurrects sounds from a by-gone era, adapting the style to fit modern concerns and contemporary issues. Consequently, Boroff's style isn't just alt-rock for the sake of nostalgia, he is pioneering a progressive sound that fuses the true heart of rock music with clever lyricism, making for a potent and unmissable combination, worthy of any rock fan's ears.
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