Accomplished Canadian songwriter, Matt Holubowski is a master of the understated, a tour guide of the ethereal and a purveyor of prose. His newest album, Weird Ones is due 3/20 in the UK and at first listen is destined for great reviews, at 5th listen, it’s even finer in its composite. Holubowski writes and produces music that is transporting and poignant. His approach is subtle, his messages are thought-provoking and production is reverb-drenched and lush. His upcoming 12-song collection is a tour de force of melancholy, dream-sequenced vignettes, where visions and tales abound.
This album is reminiscent by nature. Maybe early Pink Floyd, or Pet Sounds or a few other long-admired sonic trips we’ve been treated to in the past. It’s not to say Holubowski sounds like any of these artists, but they’re on the same path. Some elements are even steeped in early singer-songwriter, Paul Simon; the delivery is calming, casual, lyrically-based, and is presented with an almost British gift of melody and pentameter. Elements of so many different past influences reveal themselves in the most professional form possible throughout this album. It’s immediately obvious that Weird Ones is a folk album, but its production and presentation touts conceptual work.
The songs on this record seem to intertwine like a collection of tangled jewellery. One wonders if it’s for the sake of continuity, but all tracks are unique once you’re enveloped. This is the kind of work you can get lost in, not worry about what song you’re listening to, because they are all so well-crafted.
Weird Ones, the track, is a short opening to this album and is captivating, maybe a bit mesmerizing out of the gates. It successfully prepares you for what’s on the horizon, makes you decide if you’re going to be a casual observer for the next hour, or if you’re full-in; one should hope for the latter.
Holubowski and his band press on. Their artfolk journey continues with accessible tracks like Two Paper Moons, or by weaving you directly into the fabric of the album with songs like, Thoroughfare and all its textural nods to traffic and rushing automobiles, etc. Eyes Wider is a standout track though. It’s a bit more commercial (not in the derogatory sense) than the other tracks but is expertly placed on the album to remind you what/who you are listening to; its grounding and welcoming about 3/4s of the way through the album.
This album is a must-hear from a musician’s point of view. Drumming/percussion and guitar for that matter is so song-serving, it should be a lesson in restraint and logistics for anyone creating anything musical. This is not session playing, it’s a performance by artisans who are vested in the songwriting, other than the songwriter; with final product in hand, this becomes readily apparent. Vocally speaking, Holubowski delivers his message on his terms, he is gentle and mixed well (never on top of) with his music, but allows himself the space he needs to step up in the mix when intended. His tone is a perfect match for his poetic lyricism and often can be found just as comfortable in his falsetto.
This album is not the kind of work that you just snatch tracks from, this work must be listened to in its entirety to be enjoyed properly. All of the tracks depend on each other for greatness, for the common good of the art. If you cherry-pick songs of this album, we can’t be friends.
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