Matt Nathanson - Beneath These Fireworks
Making the leap to a major label—after years of earning his audience one listener at a time through exhaustive touring and a series of five independent releases—Matt Nathanson translates his tuneful, heartfelt singer/songwriter pop into a more imminently palatable format. Loaded with crisply produced chiming guitars and subtle touches of cello and keyboard, Nathanson is a bit too calculated and studied here, though, having rounded off rough edges to the detriment of his distinctive gifts. As such, John Mayer, Matchbox 20, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Train are reasonable touchstones, and Nathanson boasts both the hooks and the radio-ready sheen to prove he could easily become a similar commercial breakthrough should radio warm up to him. All in all, he delivers often and obviously, with the only regret being that he dresses up his most timeless gifts in such decidedly modern garb.