Matt Sharp Matt Sharp

Probably best known for his stint as bassist in Weezer, which isn’t to overlook his passable work with his geek rock group the Rentals, Matt Sharp is hardly a stranger to the world of indie pop. Yet I’d wager most will be surprised to hear that his self-titled solo debut consists entirely of plaintive acoustic numbers, falling much closer to the autumnal Southern tinges of Iron & Wine or M. Ward than the summery pop he’s come to be associated with. Though the Rentals certainly weren’t strangers to the way of the ballad, Sharp’s head-first foray into country/folk territory is a fairly drastic turn and is, at best, a mixed bag. To their credit, collaborators Greg Brown and Josh Hagen do a commendable job of offering Sharp an atmospherically bleak, and at times even haunting, backing for his songs. Unfortunately, a good backing band can only do so much for mediocre songwriting, something that plagues a good deal of Sharp’s debut. That most of these songs go on for minutes longer than they should doesn’t help the situation either, further condemning the album as one too unaware of its weaknesses to move beyond being an honest try from an artist trying to discover his own sound. (In Music We Trust)