MATT MITCHELL & THE COLDHEARTS – ST (2019)
British singer / songwriter Matt Mitchell (Pride / Furyon) has recently had the chance to embark on the journey of recording his first solo record, this self-titled debut with his band MATT MITCHELL & THE COLDHEARTS.
Matt started out singing and writing songs in his late teens learning his craft in several bands early on, he then found himself as the voice of AOR band Pride who released two albums in the mid 2000’s. Later with Furyon there was an album for Frontiers Music, and then Matt joined Little Angels guitarist Bruce John Dickinson forming the much lighter bluesy sounding group Colour Of Noise.
Colour Of Noise were to leave things on a high in 2017 and with one door closing another soon opened in the shape of Matt’s solo project with guest players; MATT MITCHELL & THE COLDHEARTS.
It certainly feels like his most personal effort to date. Self-evidently, it bears his name, but it is more than that. The stories here reflect real life.
More immediately, perhaps, it’s worth saying that if you liked either of the bands I mentioned above (or indeed Pride, the AOR revivalists that launched his career) then you’ll love The Coldhearts too. That’s not to say, though, that this is a mere rehash, because it is anything but.
“Black Diamonds” – the lead track here – proves that actually. It has the same bluesy, hard rock chug, but there is a liberal dose of organ here, as if he’d been listening to Deep Purple before recording the thing.
“Home” too, showcases Mitchell version 2019, with a classic rock feeling. Mid-paced, more singer/songwriter than before, but as accessible as you like and his ability to write a hook is undiminished. It’s the balance to opening track and a song about getting back on track, it’s uplifting stuff and after just two songs you know you’re in for a real treat.
That is confirmed by the wonderful musicianship in ‘On and On’ which sports two solos – one Hammond, one guitar. It’s probably my current favorite here. The song is little masterclass in British hard / classic rock with hints of The Answer and there’s a proper fists in the air feel too.
‘Dare You to Watch’ conversely is an almost ‘lounge rock’ outing that soothes and then bristles as it deals with issues of mental health.
But there’s more, and more variety – ‘Kings and Queens’ is a stomping good love story with a slightly AOR thing going on, which as fine a cut as it is, doesn’t sound too much like it came out in 2019.
“Unavailable” gets down and dirty and struts his funky stuff, and “Do You Wanna Be My God” has the self-confidence to be a huge hit, if rock n’ roll ever got huge again in the charts.
“Old Enough And Ugly Enough” is a big classic rock ballad. Unashamed too, but with a kind of cracked, Americana, blue collar vibe. This, though, is well-paced collection and “Wave Goodbye” switches up a gear or two with a kick.
Across the 12 songs that are on the album, there are a couple of moments when it almost got into U2 circa 1987 type waters. “Everything To You” stops paddling on the shore and dives straight in, and as if to make certain everyone understands that it’s a different Matt Mitchell this time around, then there is a campfire taste to the Lap Steel infused “Keep Me Safe”, while the grandiose rocker “Waiting For The Sun” doesn’t even hide its intentions to be big.
That is Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts, really. Keeping all the elements that have always set Mitchell apart, but adding some new colors to keep things fresh. It is a record that suggests throughout that he’s not going to rest until he’s given everything he’s got.
There’s plenty of lyrical depth and some great musicianship, and above all, musical variety.
01 – Black Diamonds
02 – Home
03 – On & On
04 – Dare You to Watch
05 – Kings & Queens
06 – Unavailable
07 – Do You Wanna Be My God
08 – Old Enough & Ugly Enough
09 – Wave Goodbye
10 – Everything to You
11 – Keep Me Safe
12 – Waiting for the Sun
Matt Mitchell – Vocals, Guitars
Mauro Laconi – Guitars
Dom Ladd – Bass
Matt Cherry – Drums
Stevie Watts – Keyboards