If someone mentions the Americana band The Matinee, it’s difficult for fans not to think of the image of the bus/coach from their debut album, We Swore We’d See The Sunrise. Like that bus/coach, the band has been on their own journey. During this time, they have always stayed true to their music by creating what was best for them. Doing so made their work feel more authentic and easy to connect with, a quality heard throughout their albums Dancing On Your Grave, Pretty Rustic Melodies (Rarities and B-Sides), and their Broken Arrows EP. All their releases offered something different, but all created to a high standard. Songs such as “Young and Lazy”, “Edge of Something”, and “Sweet Thing” can confirm this.
With no plans to slow down, they are ready to deliver their latest album, Change of Scene. A release that came to life after the band’s four founding members, Matt Layzell (vocals), Matt Rose (guitar, vocals), Geoff Petrie (guitar, vocals), and Peter Lemon (vocals, drums), went on a wild excursion for inspiration. They wrote many songs, but only nine made the final cut. After nine days of recording, the album came together with help from some other talented musicians. They are proud of what they have created and excited for the world to hear Change of Scene.
Over the years, The Matinee have not strayed far from their Americana roots. These guys know their musical lane. There is nothing wrong with that. However, they still offer an array of moods and emotions with their songs. The guys have even delivered an unplugged album to let us hear their music in a more natural form. Whatever the release, this collective always performs to a high standard, creating soundtracks to match the mood of their stories. Change of Scene continues this winning trend.
Here is an album rich in musical layers that feature some wonderful and mesmerising moments. To help achieve these sounds, they have added the talents of Goerges Couling (keys, Wurlitzer, Hammond organ), Joseph Lubinsky (electric, upright bass), Marcus Abramzik (electric bass), Steve Dawson (pedal steel, slide guitar, acoustic & electric guitar), and additional piano/organ by Chris Gestrin. The results are all to hear, as they have created a captivating listening experience from start to finish.
The opening track, “Bad Addiction”, offers their familiar Americana soundtrack. While “Road to Hell” delivers the same but with a little more kick as they showcase their rockier side. But they also know how to slow things down to show their more vulnerable side with moments such as “Year of Nothing” and “The Way She Goes”. Just don’t expect them to stay to one sound too long, as they are not afraid to mix things up, as highlighted by “Stay Gold”.
As much as the guys have created a compelling audio landscape, this is all to set the scene for their storytelling to steal the spotlight. The Matinee have always been impressive with their way with words. It’s a quality that stands out thanks to the delivery by Layzell and the rest of the band in support. Change of Scene offers more of this winning combination. However, with this collection of songs, it feels as if they have fine-tuned their writing.
A wild excursion for inspiration has resulted in something special by The Matinee and their new album ‘Change of Scene’
“Bad Addiction” (with backing vocals by The McCrary Sisters) has a playful Americana groove telling a tale highlighted by the line, “Let me be your bad addiction”. But within it are some great life lessons. One that stands out is, “So don’t sweat the small stuff / Be who you’re meant to be / Dance like no one’s watching / And love as though your heart is free”. True words.
While “Cut To Pieces” tells us not to give up. It is a subtle anthem track that makes you sing along to, “Everybody knows it / You’ve got to roll with it / There’s no way we’re going down without a fight”. It also features a killer guitar solo that is worth checking out. “Train Rolls On” may not be as deep with its lyrics, but the storytelling quality by Layzell has its own charm. Along with its gentle soundtrack, it subtly draws in the listener. The title track, “Change of Scene”, is another highlight that shows off their way with words.
There are so many great tracks on offer within the album. But, one continues to stand out with each listen, “Shake It”. It is a song that has ‘good time’ written all over it. As soon as you press play, that upright bass pulls you in. Then, the keys and drums join in to ensure you are going nowhere. Then, Layzell comes in with the opening lines, “We moved faster than a motorbike / We got hotter than mid-July / No cooling it down / Let the mercury rise”.
The beats and bass get under your skin. It makes you move. When the hook arrives, you can’t help but sing along. The lines, “Let it shake baby shake / Let it shake baby shake / Move nice and slow / And then shake it baby shake it”, hit home that feel-good factor. There are some extra sprinkles of musical magic, with the additional vocals by Allison Russell and the slide guitar by Steve Dawson. It all comes together to create one of the best tracks by The Matinee.
Change of Scene has so much to offer. From compelling soundtracks to captivating stories, there is something here for everyone. It is a collection of songs that is more than worth your listening time. Press play and let the music by The Matinee do the talking.