Matthew Barber Matthew Barber

Matthew Barber Matthew Barber
Self-titling his sixth album actually makes sense for acclaimed Toronto, ON troubadour Barber. In the past, he has worked with gifted sonic collaborators like Howie Beck, but this one is indeed a totally DIY record. Recorded at home, these self-produced basement tapes feature Barber playing all the instruments on these all-original tunes. The result is a tour de force shaping up as his best record yet. The use of an analog eight-track machine imparts a warm sound that perfectly complement's Barber's sweetly melodic vocals. Despite the one-man band approach, there's a pleasing diversity of tempos, tones and styles. "Dust on My Collar" is a frisky, Dylan-esque guitar- and harmonica-based romp ("I can still make you holler, baby, with the slightest touch"), while haunting ballad "Man in a Movie" features sparse piano and atmospherics. The songs that dig deepest work best, even if banal CBC programming prefers the sweet but rather slight "I Miss You When You're Gone." Tracks such as "Keep it Alive," "Ring Upon Your Finger" and "Let Me Go Home" explore the intricacies of a long-term relationship. That's not generally seen as a sexy or hip theme, but Barber's honest voice is the perfect instrument for his subtle and tuneful dissection of matters of the heart. This is a lovely record. (Outside)