Without one of our favourite albums of last year was The Panhandle Years from The Welcome Matt, an album which compiled a wealth of tracks taken from the project’s previous seven albums to introduce a very talented sound and presence to the wider world. It was a refreshing and exciting introduction for us to the band and San Francisco based musician Matt Langlois who is The Welcome Matt. Following up its impressive persuasion, comes new album POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE, a release which quite simply carries on where its predecessor left off, inflaming the passions and creating some quite irresistible and enterprising rock pop.
Finding success and acclaim with his work with Members Of Sound from 2009 through to 2011, a musical project which released a new song every month for two years and resulted in two major CD releases from this work with an array of Bay Area musicians and producers, Langlois in many ways brought his solo project into its strongest limelight, certainly in respect of an emerging world awareness with The Panhandle Years. It was a kind of summing up of his adventure and creative journey to that point which POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE now extends with its own delicious stomp of imaginative infection.
The Welcome Back opens up the ‘return’, lightly jagged guitars coaxing attention as the distinctive expressive vocals of Langlois wait for a moment before beginning their narrative. Into its full stride the song unveils a bluesy melodic embrace aligned to sixties tinted harmonies and melodic temptation. Lifting its knees the track eventually moves from an inviting walk into a feisty stomp, one weaving tendrils of contagious seventies pop rock and sixties charm into a gait which never truly explodes into riotousness but leaves the senses energised as the sounds toy with them. It is a mesmeric start which awakens a healthy appetite for the release and immediately feeds the anticipation bred by the album’s predecessor.
The following Key of G opens with Bolanesque strumming and vocal harmonies, the influence unmistakable and a pleasing lure into a song which evolves the inspiration into a compelling striding of inventive persuasion, guitars and keys almost wanton in their temptation whilst a throaty bass sounds has their back, it bringing shadows into the equation. It is impossible to resist its enticement; it like many of the songs breeding a familiarity within a fresh and magnetic wash of imagination. Its successor Let It Lead You, the new single from the album, is very much the same, its presence and teasing that of a recognisable friend but in a brand new enterprising suit. The rhythmic beckoning at the start instantly has feet and hunger on alert whilst the keys and vocals alongside, not for the first time upon the album, a virulently addictive groove littered with potent hooks seduces with every note and touch. It is a deviously effective pop song and catchy doorway into the album and The Welcome Matt for newcomers.
Pop Junk Fluff and Hype steps up next, a funk fed introduction taking little time in recruiting thoughts and emotions as it romps eagerly around the ears. Fiery rock guitars flame over the pop canvas whilst vocals and keys leap with energetic rigour and enterprise. It is a spellbinding mix of styles and flavours, electro and alternative rock adding to the insatiable and outstanding toxicity. Just as epidemically enthralling is Mode Of Transportation, a fusion of power pop and indie/electro rock which plays like a mix of The Motors meets Cockney Rebel with a splash of Cheap Trick. The song almost prowls around the senses and imagination even in its radiantly hued stance leading the listener into yet another impossible to ignore or resist piece of excellent rock ‘n’ roll.
A Hail Mary mischievously teases from the outset with a discord bleeding caress of chords and electronic nagging, its suasion early XTC like with a little Hot Hot Heat festivity to its riveting coaxing whilst Get Shameless is a foot stomping dance of hypnotic rhythms and frisky melodies. Keys and bass add their individual textures to the electric dance as Langlois immerses the listener in a skilled and adventurous addiction.
Both Mind Control and Lets Really Go continue the impressive exploits within the album, the first with a seemingly Sparks bred form of pop punk with hooks and a bass pulse which stick welcome barbs in deeply and the second through a devilishly compelling transfixing slice of country rock sing-a-long with slithers of punk and rock ‘n‘ roll adding their teasing.
Cast A Line brings POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE to a Bolan/Kinks tasting and enjoyable end to conclude a thoroughly thrilling and incredible contagious encounter. It is a storming blaze of pop rock which feeds every want and need with accomplished infectious ease, and an album all should pay attention to.
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