Jonah Matranga - And Album Review
With a nod to the acoustic minimalist musings of side-project Onelinedrawing, Jonah Matranga's latest release is a country-tinged acoustic rumination on various topics that fans of his previous bands such as Far, New End Original or Gratitude should be familiar with- hope, relationships and the great vagaries of life itself. After his short-lived incarnation as head-honcho of Gratitude- an outfit you suspected were looking for some sort of commercial success with their accessible indie-pop songs- Matranga returns to a more intimate setting and low-key setting.
Enlisting the help of fellow musicians Sam Siegler (Nightmare of You) and Ian Love (Cardia) to accompany him, "And" is a sparse affair instrumentally- many songs are based around acoustic strummed or picked guitars with minimal melodic accompaniment via keyboard and steel guitars. Recent single (and best song on the album) "So Long" follows this pattern- the strummed opening chords lead into a rousing and beautifully upbeat number. "I Can't read Yr Mind" is the sort of title Prince would think of, however it's delightfully maudlin and one of the highlights here. "Not About a Girl or a Place" picks the tempo up, with sparkling bursts of guitar that calls to mind The Red House Painters. It's also a pleasure to discover a "hidden track"- do bands still do these anymore?- stowed away at the end of the disc that is fired through with a punky spirit that sits at odds with the earlier songs.
Although this is definitely Matranga's most mature work to date and it's (Far) removed from his early incarnation as front man of a popular underground hardcore band, it is still an accessible body of work, possessing the melodic sensibilities that he has been feted for.