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Matt Berry - Phantom Birds

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Phantom Birds

Matt Berry

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It's clear from his music that Matt Berry is a dedicated record collector, the kind who gets deep into a given style and tries to track down everything possible that's worth hearing. Each album he's made sounds like the work of someone deep in the throes of a particular obsession: Kill the Wolf was British folk-rock, Music for Insomniacs was new age synthesizer music, Television Themes is pretty self-explanatory. His 2016 album The Small Hours did a fine job synthesizing his various influences into a gently psychedelic sound that touched on classic singer/songwriter and soft rock elements as well. 2020's Phantom Birds adds a healthy dose of Nashville Skyline-influenced country-rock to the mix, mostly replacing the vintage synths and trippy arrangements with pedal steel guitar and low-key strumming. Berry sounds right at home in these new surroundings; his drawling vocals fit the genre well and he mostly uses the style as a spice that folds into his musical stew without a problem. Tracks like "Moonlight Flit" and "That Yellow Bird," with their swooping pedal steels, vibraphone fills, and expansive arrangements, fall into the cosmic Americana category, mixing the traditional with the offbeat in ways that Gram Parsons would have surely appreciated. Berry definitely makes the most of the backing lyrically by telling some tall tales, lending wisdom, and generally projecting a sense of calm serenity over the proceedings. It's a little slicker and more straightforward overall than some of his earlier work. It might be the gliding pedal steel or the acoustic guitars that underpin most of the record, but Berry has rarely sounded this relaxed or at ease on record. The easy melodies and subtle singing of the title track is something new and very welcome; much of the rest of the album hits this same note of familiarity and growth, and it makes for a very satisfying listen. If Berry continues to progress and impress at this level, he might soon be known as a musician who does some acting instead of the other way around.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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Phantom Birds

Matt Berry

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1
Something In My Eye
00:03:03

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

2
You Danced All Night
00:02:35

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

3
Phantom Birds
00:02:39

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

4
Moonlight Flit
00:02:43

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

5
Man Of Doom
00:03:18

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

6
Where's My Love?
00:01:21

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

7
Take A Bow
00:03:01

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

8
Intermission
00:00:42

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

9
Hail To The King
00:03:00

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

10
In My Mind
00:03:06

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

11
That Yellow Bird
00:02:44

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

12
Waving Goodbye
00:02:45

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

13
Covered In Clowns
00:02:47

Matt Berry, Composer, MainArtist

2020 Acid Jazz Records 2020 Acid Jazz Records

Album Description

It's clear from his music that Matt Berry is a dedicated record collector, the kind who gets deep into a given style and tries to track down everything possible that's worth hearing. Each album he's made sounds like the work of someone deep in the throes of a particular obsession: Kill the Wolf was British folk-rock, Music for Insomniacs was new age synthesizer music, Television Themes is pretty self-explanatory. His 2016 album The Small Hours did a fine job synthesizing his various influences into a gently psychedelic sound that touched on classic singer/songwriter and soft rock elements as well. 2020's Phantom Birds adds a healthy dose of Nashville Skyline-influenced country-rock to the mix, mostly replacing the vintage synths and trippy arrangements with pedal steel guitar and low-key strumming. Berry sounds right at home in these new surroundings; his drawling vocals fit the genre well and he mostly uses the style as a spice that folds into his musical stew without a problem. Tracks like "Moonlight Flit" and "That Yellow Bird," with their swooping pedal steels, vibraphone fills, and expansive arrangements, fall into the cosmic Americana category, mixing the traditional with the offbeat in ways that Gram Parsons would have surely appreciated. Berry definitely makes the most of the backing lyrically by telling some tall tales, lending wisdom, and generally projecting a sense of calm serenity over the proceedings. It's a little slicker and more straightforward overall than some of his earlier work. It might be the gliding pedal steel or the acoustic guitars that underpin most of the record, but Berry has rarely sounded this relaxed or at ease on record. The easy melodies and subtle singing of the title track is something new and very welcome; much of the rest of the album hits this same note of familiarity and growth, and it makes for a very satisfying listen. If Berry continues to progress and impress at this level, he might soon be known as a musician who does some acting instead of the other way around.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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By Matt Berry
Television Themes Matt Berry
Kill the Wolf Matt Berry
Something In My Eye Matt Berry
Witchazel Matt Berry
Waving Goodbye Matt Berry

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