The Matt Burke Band – Pretty Close to Very Good
The Matt Burke band debuts with its aptly titled Pretty Close To Very Good – a bold title indeed, with just enough humility to fall back on in case your first impression is that Very Close to Pretty Good would be better suited. But this is a band making bluesy pop-rock reminiscent of The Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Hooty and the Blowfish, and at times Sugar Ray.
The one thing that immediately sets TMBB apart from the aforementioned -and highly commercial – acts is the organic quality. There’s a charming rawness to it all that takes away any feelings of annoyance that some of the other bands may conjure up at the mention of their names. There are elements of singer-songwriter, blues, pop and rock on virtually every track here, creating a consistent sound you can rely on for the duration of the album.
It isn’t hard to imagine hearing any number of these songs on major radio. For starters, they’re catchy as hell. Take the opening track for example, “The Weekend War”. It has this nice Caribbean vibe, complete with steel drums and a chorus that will not leave your brain without a fight. This is fun summer music at its best. Then there’s “Superstar” with Spanish guitar playing you would expect to hear on a Carlos Santana tune.
“Moonshine Porcelain” is a very nice surprise out of the collection, as well as my personal favorite. It opens up with a bluesy dark guitar riff backed up by a deep jungle drum rhythm. The song immediately following this, “Fading Faces” is the edgiest track for sure. Bluesy and smooth, and yet somehow able to make even the purest of hearts sing along when the hook comes in: “Mitch Hunt where’d the f*ck you go? Mitch Hunt where the f*ck you been? Mitch Hunt where’d the f*ck you go? I think about you time again and I’d just like to know.”
All in all, this is a solid album. Every surprise is seemingly a nice one. Musicianship is stellar; the lyrics have an “every man” quality to them; unexpected instruments are sprinkled throughout, creating layers of texture to this fun and soulful venture; Matt Burke’s vocal range is wide enough to keep the listener interested, and the catchy hooks seal the deal. Indeed, the album is good. Is it very good? Pretty close.