Matthew Barber - Big Romance
Released May 27, 2014
By Jessica Rinfret
Matthew Barber’s latest release, Big Romance, is an impressive offering from the Toronto musician. The album as a whole can be described as a pleasant, diverse blend of rock and folk, rich in emotion and depth. Many of his lyrics are soulful and meaningful, and though he does tend to favour a repetitive chorus, especially on the first two tracks of the record, the depth and emotional poignancy of the rest of the lyrics make up for it. Barber’s voice, full of melancholy softness, and his hints of whimsy remind of a Jack Johnson turned folk-rock. It is easy to listen to, while still being engaging for the ears and for the mind, thanks to the thoughtful lyrics.
Standout tracks definitely include title track Big Romance, as well as the highly emotional ballad If Our Timing Is True, which is perfectly hopeful and emotional simultaneously. Dance of the Honey Bee on the other hand, has a very gritty, old world, bluegrass kind of sound with a great rock edge. This is without a doubt one of the edgier tracks on the album, and adds a nice bit of diversity to the record. Barber is anything if boring, and shifts easily between genres, integrating them seamlessly to create a cohesive but still exciting and surprising record.
Overall, this is an interesting, emotionally engaging offering from an established Canadian musician. Fans of both the folk and rock genres will thoroughly enjoy this album, and will find not only something to dance to, but something perfect for a quiet, introspective walk, or soothing a broken heart.