Eric Matthews Six Kinds of Passion Looking for an Exit

Even if Eric Matthews stopped making music in 1997, he would have left a legacy that was second to none. As part of the legendary Cardinal (with Richard Davies) and with a couple of excellent solo albums that saw him further refine his skills, it came as a bit of a surprise when he almost completely disappeared off the map at the end of the ’90s. But after spending a few years working with other musicians (including Tahiti 80 and the Dandy Warhols), he has finally returned to his own music again. Six Kinds of Passion Looking for an Exit is a little disappointing, in that it doesn’t deliver more of the orchestral pop songs that Matthews made his name with. These seven songs are remarkably quiet and sparse and sound kind of dull, at least on initial listens; and if it wasn’t for his characteristic voice, it would be hard to believe that this is the same artist. Only the closer "Black to Light Brown” relies on trumpet and has the immediacy that he is capable of. Yet like his work with Cardinal, these new songs conceal hidden depths that take some time to slowly reveal all their charm. Six Kinds of Passion Looking for an Exit is a subtle record that revels in melancholy without sounding too detached and bleak. More importantly, it confirms Eric Matthews as a rare talent making a very overdue, yet welcome, return. (Empyrean)