Matt Bedrosian very much encapsulates what this very website is about. A great musician who writes exceptional songs on consumer gear that almost no one has heard of. Bedrosian currently lives in Oakland, CA and while I’m sure he has a day job found time to make an exceptional batch of music. His latest release Off Island is off kilter slightly experimental pop album that is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
One thing that makes Off Island work is that Bedrosian is a great vocalist who has put some thought into his lyrics. His voice is almost innocent sounding while being warm and inviting. It also doesn’t hurt that his vocals are treated properly. No dynamic issues, a good amount of reverb, etc.
Bedrosian’s vocals are original but so is the music. He doesn’t settle for cookie cutter structures and mixes in inventive elements that establish his talent. Take for instance the first song “Off Island,” which is actually a blues song but is made in such a way I didn't even realize it at first. The music is very atmospheric like a combination of blues and ambient music. His vocal delivery combined with his off kilter approach towards blues creates a refreshing experience.
The album doesn’t lose any steam as it progresses. Take for instance the excellent “Sierra Blanca,” which is an example of pop music I could listen to all day long. He sings, “Because I've been trying to be a human I'm undecided I don’t know if I like it always running keep chasing something.” In lesser skilled hands these lines could come off as pretentious but Bedrosian’s playful approach does the opposite. In fact if the lyrics were silly and about cupcakes and puppies it wouldn't work as well.
“Las Cabinas” is a lush song revolving around a picked acoustic guitar and hushed vocals. Bedrosian has an ear for subtle nuances and effects as he demonstrates halfway through the song. “Nectarberry” is another success that is a percussive heavy song filled with delicate vocal harmonies.
The last two tracks “Babes” and “The Mainland” are also good songs. “Babes” has a couple of great lines my favorite being, “The only progress that I've made is feeling it sounds easy but it’s hard when all your friends check their iPhones till they’re dead.” He sounds a bit like Bradford Cox here.
Off Island is another testament to the fact that there is no lack of excellent music out there. I hope Bedrosian doesn’t stop any time soon as he has certainly gained one fan and hopefully many more with this review.
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