John Matthias – Stories From The Watercooler

With the forthcoming gig, it was time to get out the debut album by John Matthias with the best cover artwork of the year! And what’s it like to listen to?

John Matthias & Cortical Songs Live promises to be one of the highlights of 2008 and you’ll recall the Marrhias album Stories From The Watercooler is a collection of twelve short stories on themes such as the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes, to fake alternative therapies, credit ratings and telephone banking, from boxing to Japanese internment camps in and bombs with the face of Britney Spears painted on!
Now this doesn’t sound a barrell of laughs but as recommended “folk music for a new millenium” it’s not as miserable as you might imagine. Sort of John Martyn meets The Smiths? Even songs about “life and the world” have some upbeat moments like ‘Blind Lead The Blind’ and the rockin’ ‘Spinnaker’.
Apart from his collaborations with Nick Ryan (as Cortical Songs) you may recall John was also the vocalist on Coldcut’s ‘Man In A Garage‘ (from the album Sound Mirrors) and has worked with (who’s new ‘Big Band’ album is coming out in November!).
Whilst Coldcut are looking to to produce thier next album, they’ve done a great job here (with Roy Merchant) and if that’s not enough name dropping, John and Thom Yorke used to be in a band in their university days and that’s the link Radiohead’s regular Stanley Donwood sleeve designer who has done the incredible artwork for this album.
This album has the feel of a polished Lupen Crook and really tracks like ‘Evermore’, ‘It’s Not’ and ‘I Will Disappear’ leave you wondering why this guy isn’t better known; excellent album.
Reviewed: John Matthias – Stories From The Watercooler (Counter Records) Cat. No. CountCD014 Release Date: 2nd June 2008
1 Open (3:28)
2 Vipers’ Nest (4:07)
3 I Will Disappear (3:29)
4 Police Car (3:00)
5 Blind Lead The Blind (2:51)
6 Stockwell Road (5:57)
7 Spinnaker (3:22)
8 Stocktaking (3:19)
9 King Of A Small Town (4:19)
10 Evermore (4:00)
11 It’s Not (2:36)
12 One Sunny Morning In The No-Fly Zone (4:26)
8th October at The Bush Hall, West 7.30pm £10 in advance from here John Matthias
Cortical Songs – Tracklistings: 1st, 2nd, 3rd &-4th Movements. Remixes: 5 Thom Yorke 6 Neil Grant 7 Gabriel Prokofiev 8 Jem Finer 9 Marcas Lancaster 10 David Prior 11 John Maclean 12 Simon Tong 13 Dominic Murcott 14 Andy Prior 15 Marcus Coates
David Thomas Broughton
Jon More (Coldcut DJ Set)
Gabriel Prokofiev (DJ Set)
Gilles Peterson 04.09.08 :: GP Camp Fire mix & John Matthias in Session
Gilles Peterson :: 8th May :: GP’s Brasilian Shuffle
John Matthias – ‘I Will Disappear’