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ALBUM OF album of the week.

SCOTT MATTHEWS Elsewhere ( Island) WITH an Ivor Novello award under his Black Country belt, troubadour Scott Matthews takes his muse elsewhere in a sophomore set that reflects musically his acclaimed support slots with Rufus Wainwright and Robert Plant.

Influences abound as he wears his heart on his frayed sleeve, adding perhaps Mercury Rev and Nick Cave to the Wolverhampton singer-songwriter's already established folk-pop debt to Midland legend Nick Drake.But make no mistake, this is Matthews' own moment.

From Drake-like opener Underlying Lies, with its string-strewn soundscape, to the distorted indie guitar grumble of Fractured, every song is a spine-tingling success.

Speeding Slowly marries acoustic guitar, melodic bass, brushed drums and cello with an almost hummable hook, Into The Firing Line is an incendiary indie adventure, and Up On The Hill nods to Jeff Buckley. But it's the utterly gorgeous 12 Harps that inevitably steals the show, Matthews' vocal interwoven seamlessly with that of special guest Robert Plant, the slight differences in timbre bewitching.

This is without doubt one of the best albums of the year. Do not miss it. PC
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:May 24, 2009
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