Matt Costa – Matt Costa

If you were ever wondering what Instagram would sound like if it were music, the new Matt Costa album is going to be right up your alley. And if you’re wondering whether that’s a compliment or not, it depends entirely on how ready you are for summer to be here. The album, simply titled Matt Costa, defies its February release date by having a distinct relaxing-on-the-beach vibe, and judging from the video for the lead single, “Good Times,” the Instagram sound was completely intentional.

That said, the production on this album is anything but lo-fi, but it does still have that organic acoustic feel without being too polished. In other words, there’s a good balance of modern and retro here, and Costa has managed to find a way to do new and exciting things with production between the release of 2010’s Mobile Chateau and now.

Having listened to the whole album, it has to be said that “Good Times” would not be my immediate favorite, but it makes sense that it would be released as the first single. It’s definitely the album’s best chance at radio play, with a repetitive chorus that’s easy to remember, a singalong bit starting about halfway through, and a step-kick-step-kick beat that will certainly have you dancing in your chair, if not getting out of it entirely.

Oddly enough, it’s the next track, “Laura Lee,” that really catches my attention. A two-minute gem of a song, the opening line “Laura Lee, Laura Lee, sits under the chestnut tree” is both charming and warm, and the rich bed of acoustic guitars only adds to that. There’s a treatment on the vocal (and indeed on the vocal for many of the album’s tracks) that’s quite 1960s, and the whole track swims in sunshine and flower power and love.

Other tracks are evocative of other retro stylings. “Loving You,” for example, would sit well alongside a catalogue of Monkees-era Neil Diamond songs, with its string section and almost honky-tonk piano.

In short, there are a lot of different things going on throughout this album, but they all fall under the same general category, and, more importantly, they’re all very much in that inimitable Matt Costa style. It’s fitting, therefore, that he named this album after himself, and longtime fans will no doubt count this album among their favorites, if not the favorite. With spring on its way, this is the perfect album to take us into warmer weather, and a great middle road between the constant stream of radio pop and the recent hard left turn toward more bluegrass-based folk.

Brynn Alexander lives and breathes all things music. When she’s not getting the 4-1-1 on secret shows and listening to her fave Neil Diamond albums, she’s writing about her new bands and artists. Follow her on Google Plus

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