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“Being Human” LP by Matt Smith

In his cerebral 2020 LP Being Human, singer and songwriter Matt Smith explores the depth of his songwriting in a way he never has before; freely and without any consideration for aesthetical parameters. There’s no underlying pop component tying songs like “How We Got to Here,” “Down in the Hole,” “Everybody Do the Don’t” and “I Got the Girl” together – there’s only the unrelenting passion of Smith and his backing band, who collectively put more wallop into even the softest of songs here to make every moment in Being Human feel real, unfiltered and untouched by synthetic elements.

MORE ON MATT SMITH: https://6stringranch.com/matt-smith

On shuffle, this record has a striking fluidity that really took me by surprise the first time I listened to it. For as varying as the styles are from “I’d Do Anything for You” to the title cut and “Sanctuary,” the cohesiveness of the energy behind every song is impossible to ignore. You can tell that Smith took some serious time selecting which tracks he wanted to include here, as even when they’re playing in a completely different order than originally presented, they feel like chapters of a discord-filled story being told by the singer in the eye of the storm.

The vocal is balanced with some sterling bass work in “Everybody Do the Don’t” and simple “God is Watching Over You,” and when breaking down the tracklist as a whole, there’s no getting around the obvious priorities Matt Smith has as a recording artist. Creating a sonic equilibrium is clearly of upmost importance to him, because much like the other seven new albums he’s releasing this September, there’s rarely a song in which specific instruments take the lead role over any of the others. Everything here is very powerful, and essential to our understanding and fully appreciating the mood of the music in Being Human.

I love the texture the strings emit in the title track, “Down in the Hole” and “I Got the Girl,” and while the guitar parts in these tracks are tonally communicative, they never play as overly brawny or made to fill in negative space created by the barebones mixing style. There’s nothing worse than an overthought – and overcomplicated – eclectic pop effort, but much to my delight, Matt Smith is going out of his way to give us an album in Being Human that doesn’t ask anything out of us in exchange for a relaxing yet stimulating listen for thirty-three solid minutes.

APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/album/being-human/1530075293

Matt Smith has made some really interesting work inside of the studio since first surfacing in the underground Austin scene back in the 1980s, and from my perspective, what he’s developed for fans and critics the same in Being Human is absolutely among his most mature work so far. A veteran of his status doesn’t have to do anything to effect the narrative in their scene, but for this player, it seems as though slowing down has never been on the table. Listeners are winners for it, and this LP is just the latest treat to be adored.

John McCall

 

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