Arguably my greatest regret in recent months is not having found Matt Corby sooner. I was told about him only a week ago, and his breakout hit ‘Brother’ has been playing intermittently ever since. Having so much success on the back of EPs alone, I couldn’t quite believe a man showcasing as much raw vocal power as Corby was yet to drop a debut. Then I saw the date 11.03.16, and the nameTelluric. Well it’s here, and Corby hasn’t disappointed his fans, both long-term and short (me).
There is a distinctly soulful opening to this album, with the choir of Corby’s harmonising vocals on the already released ‘Monday’, which Corby described as ‘Stomping on the ground and clapping’ beauty’. Recorded in the costal town of Berry, New South Wales, Corby’s voice and the lush harmonies that provide the backdrop are inviting, warm and intimate. His falsettos break in frequently, maintaining the ambient, ethereal quality that seems to permeate every track.
You know my worry only comes from wanting more for you
I get low with you
I hate it when we’re blue
The most obvious point of comparison for this album is Paolo Nutini’s Caustic Love, with it’s blending of R&B and funk seamlessly coupled with Corby’s unique vocals that oscillate between beautiful high notes to gravelly basses. ‘Sooth Lady Wine’ has all the funky jazz chords of yesterday’s eras but it’s fresh and exciting to hear Corby’s spin on music history. The tremolo background notes call ‘Rider’s on the Storm’ to mind, and the organs are reminiscent of The Black Keys’ Brothers, yet Corby’s vocals are so raw and defined and wild that he erases any notions of derivative music as elegantly as he shifts into falsetto.
‘Do You Know Harm’ is another pared down R&B-styled easy listen, one that plays up to the funk labels this album is garnering mere hours after its release and does so with assured confidence. The background vocals to this track, the highs and lows between those soft organ chords, conjure images of James Blake, yet Corby seems to be working in a space that’s entirely his own. No instrument on this track is as noteworthy as Corby’s voice, and each song is a joy to listen to because of it. Whether he bleeds into the opening of the track with a gorgeous and sorrowful hum, or whether he enters with a bass, Justin Vernon-esque, cadence, there is always a captivating power to his vocals.
‘We Could Be Friends’ has the reverberating funk soundscape of the others, yet is slightly more forgettable than the previous tracks as it extends the funk rather than building upon it. That is until the 2:30 mark in which Corby once more silences the background instrumentation with his funky, untamed vocals.
‘Why Dream’ has poppy, colourful notes tinkling in the background to another soulful delivery of vocals.
I know it’s wrong,
but I wanna be just like you.
We’re meant to be grown ups
‘Good to be alone’ the penultimate track, is a high point for the LP and for, quite literally, Corby’s vocals. Soft, elegiac lyricism and a Jeff Buckley-sounding guitar riff, Corby haunts us in the final minutes of his album. It’s good to be alone, he tells us, and with this album on and the lights off it’s easy to believe.
This album is an impressive debut, and the funk and soul layers to this LP ensure that Corby is keeping a unique and talented presence in modern music. If the gravelly folk of his previous EPs inspired you, you might find something truly wonderful in this album that you weren’t expecting. It’s warm, lush and so very listenable. Corby proves once more that funk hasn’t died, it just needs the right voice to coax it back into life.
By Will Carroll (@Mr_WillCarroll)