On Disc: Matt Mays

Album: When the Angels Make Contact

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

When the Angels Make Contact by Matt Mays

Matt Mays
When the Angels Make Contact
Sonic Records

3 stars

When the Angels Make Contact, the second solo offering from Nova Scotian Matt Mays, departs from his simple alternative rock band Matt Mays & El Torpedo.

Electronica influences, hip-hop verse, and even an organ interlude are fused with Mays’ gruff vocals, creating a darker, more experimental record.

Produced by Mays and El Torpedo drummer Tim Jim Baker, Angels was recorded as a film soundtrack to a Kerouac-style road adventure story. Plans for the movie were scrapped but Mays released the music regardless.

If you like El Torpedo, there’s still plenty of music to keep you interested. Songs like the title track and “850 Commando” provide the obligatory rock staples fans have come to expect.

The melodic “Spoonful of Sugar” and folksy “The Past” contrast simple and familiar acoustic guitar with May’s soothing voice.

It’s the electronic and synthesized beats, spoken interludes, and guest vocalists, however, that make this record worth the listen.

Fellow Nova Scotian native Buck 65 lends his own hip-hop verse to the title track and Halifax’s Kristen Hatt provides bluesy vocals.

Collaborations and musical intricacies make this record feel like an artistic labour of love; tracks flow into each other as if they could never be duplicated. Not all the songs are standouts, but with Angels, Mays proves he’s capable of more than generic alternative rock.

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