Matt Costa: Unfamiliar Faces

Music Reviews Matt Costa
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Matt Costa: Unfamiliar Faces

Lighter-than-air acoustic set from SoCal singer/songwriter

The second album by this one-time competitive skateboarder from Huntington Beach was produced by No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont and released on Jack Johnson’s label, so its surfeit of strummed-acoustic whimsy isn’t surprising. Costa’s jazz-tinged neo-folk songs are boyishly engaging for as long as they last, but they drift away without leaving a trace, as he too often settles for merely maintaining a feathery, bittersweet modality, so that the McCartney-esque tunefulness of the title track, the Mungo Jerry-like lilt of “Miss Magnolia” and the ever-so-slight edginess of “Cigarette Eyes” stand out by default. The 25-year-old artist’s limited, everyman voice convincingly projects sincerity, but it lacks the implied psychological complexity found in the similarly unvarnished deliveries of Jeff Tweedy or Ben Gibbard. Consequently, when Costa sings, in the ?ngerpicked “Downfall,” “If I wait long enough, the sun might come out,” the line has little more weight than the forecast of a TV weatherman.

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