If I’m honest I’ve never really gotten on with British vocalist Matt Mitchell; with his heavy metal band Furyon I always felt the band weren’t quite as good as they thought they were, with the result that they never quite fulfilled whatever promise they had in my mind. His work with another bête noire of mine, former Little Angel Bruce John Dickinson, similarly left me unmoved.
So here we are, with Mitchell shelving the pretence of band membership and striking out on his own, albeit at the head of another notional ‘band’, The Coldhearts. And do you know what? He’s only gone and totally one me over, the rascal!
Have a listen to the lazy rockier Dare You To Watch It for starters. A summery blast of warmly-tinged feelgood, if you close your eyes you could be in the presence of Dan Reed – which is a good thing, obviously – with Mitchell eschewing the chance to over sing in favour of a lovely performance that is completely in sympathy with the song. It’s almost breathtaking in it’s simplicity, but it works beautifully.
Kings & Queens is an undemanding Brit rocker rooted in the nineties output of names like The Catherine Wheel and The Dawn, but it’s shot through with classy feels and is the beneficiary of another restrained yet winning vocal performance. Spikier is On and On, which again comes wrapped up in nineties alt.rock garb, and has some nice riffing to enjoy, whilst the big surprise is perhaps to be found in the Americana-drenched Dare You To Watch, which takes this reviewer right back to the sounds of the Paisley punk revolution of the late eighties and names like The Smithereens, Rain Parade or perhaps former Blackfoot man Neil Casal’s solo work. It’s sumptuous, yet understated at the same time, and it comes close to bringing the Strickmann house down whenever I give it an airing.
Listeners to Sentinel Daily Radio will doubtless be familiar with lead single Black Diamonds by now; and though, yes, it sounds great on the airwaves it’s probably the least representative track here in terms of where Mitchell actually appears to be as a solo artist. In my opinion, anyway…
Unavailable will appeal to fans of Mitchell’s past works, and it’s not too far removed from something you might find on one of Glenn Hughes later solo records with it’s roving basslines, Kravitz-styled riffage and soul-tinged wailing.
Anyways, enough of my prattle. Stop reading this, get back to work and start earning enough pennies to go out and buy this most deserving piece of work when it emerges commercially at the end of the month – you won’t regret it, I can fully assure you!
Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts is released on May 31st.