Scott Matthews – New Skin
Born of the Covid-19 pandemic, conceived in lockdown, Scott Matthews’ recently released seventh studio album New Skin is an intriguing departure from his original style. The award-winning singer/songwriter has created a stunning, soulful sound, merging electro-synth, acoustics and haunting vocals, and combining hints of past genres, updated and reshaped with an innovative 2021 vibe.
The record’s name is a descriptor of Matthews’s rebirth with this work – newly “navigating a minimalistic world” with what he called in an interview with Clout magazine “sparse, grainy electronic music with a cinematic feel”*.
Like a serene underwater dive amid colourful fauna and flora, the title track opens with a soft electronic heartbeat and ethereal choral-style vocals. Next Wait in the Car’s unusual electro-country rock sound evokes the alternative band Cowboy Junkies with its moody punk/folk aura. Energetic, faster paced, the piece simmers with synth-percussion and mysterious keys.
With rich, spacious vocals and deep, sultry beat, the unique quasi-80s/90s My Selfless Moon highlights Matthews’s superb vocal range. Anniversary features Springsteen-esque percussion and guitars, with singing that combines 90s Alternative with a creative energy reminiscent of The Beatles. Employing intriguing organ-like electronics, The Tide begins softly then rises with unexpected, dreamlike riffs and a hint of Paul Simon-style vocals leading like a river, then deepening in this romantic ballad.
Morning is self-descriptive in its sense of a new day beginning – a sentimental, melancholy, supremely rhapsodic piece with gorgeous harmonic vocals and lush guitar licks. With delicately pensive, luxurious electro-sound and guitar, the moody Autopilot is like sailing on air. Though it’s about heartache it is also about hope. Our Time is upbeat with sumptuous guitar and a strong beat, the gliding instrumentals competing with and overwhelming the vocals, then reversing as the latter soar.
Introspective and poetic with solo singing by Matthews and gentle background chorals, Intruders on Earth suggests a fantasy of floating through the cosmos. Closer The Light begins with a slow tempo and gorgeous guitar sound, another whisper of Paul Simon within an intensely romantic and theatrical character.
As an experiment with innovation, New Skin delivers: a beautiful, cutting-edge, evocative and thought-provoking work, reminding and reassuring listeners that crises like a pandemic can spawn creative brilliance.
New Skin is released on 14th May 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Scott Matthews’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Wait in the Car here: