Dont Look Down - Cerys Matthews Album Review
Welsh songbird Cerys Matthews, once voted the Sexiest Female in Rock (Melody Maker 1999) must be cockahoop with her new album.
Dont Look Down is a drastic shift from her debut solo, Cockahoop and its follow-up Never Said Goodbye.
Her first album was deeply rooted in her then surroundings in America, when she was married. Her return to Wales (and now London) has brought a much bigger musical vision set in the 60s and occasional dips into her ex-bands repertoire. Theres no attempt to become another Duffy however, though Im sure shes noticed what her compatriot has been up to.
After several ups-and-downs following her departure from Catatonia a divorce from Nashville record producer Seth Riddle, a relocation to her beloved Wales and much publicised fling with an Im A Celebritycontestant, this album acts as a form of catharsis.
On the lush 60s Into The Blue she declares, Im not looking for trouble, trouble always finds me, though her spirit remains upbeat.
In a recent showing on BBC 1s The One Show, she admitted it was an album of positives, hence Dont Look Down.
Broadening her musical horizons, Matthews includes some huge production values a la Phil Spector found on the cinematic sweep of Arlington Way, a strong single in the making. Those soundscapes are littered masterfully across the entire collection however.
Keeping the retro-feel, theres also nod in the Motown direction on perky dance -bound Smash The Glass, while sweet filigree ballad Aeroplanes veers towards a 68 mood, providing our Cerys with one of her best vocal performances ever.
Theres a grittier epic touch to the laidback Spider And The Fly whereas Its Whats Left is mostly chaotic hi-octane pop proving the lady can still pack a punch.
Salutations takes the form of a desperately lonely mum noting a diary to a smooth and stylish sweep and hushed voice: the jewel in the crown. Then she goes all bold and brassy like some of her Catatonia days on punchy A Captain Needs A Ship, with edgy Heron hinting at 40s angst.
Matthews has written some great pop singlesbut this is her best work to date, no question.
The verdict Very, very impressive.
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