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Thursday, July 8,2010

Matt Costa can’t escape from Jack Johnson’s shadow

By Eli Boonin-Vail
What the hell is Matt Costa doing on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records? Everything about his music should be the anti-Jack Johnson, the personification of California’s oxymoronic laid-back image. Costa’s work on his latest album, Mobile Chateau, is laced with ’60s psych and folk, practically sprawling with sporadic interpretations of tripped out kaleidoscopic sounds in the key of the 13th Floor Elevators. But the potential berserk awesomeness of this is whitewashed by Johnson’s mundane influences, along with a handful of issues that stem from Costa’s own faults.

Though the production on Mobile Chateau was left in Costa’s hands for his first time, the scorch marks of Brushfire persist. The sound is tinted so much by the lazy gaiety of the label’s founder that the title track has crickets in the background. On “Strings Of Change,” Costa just sounds like the hammock-dwelling Johnson that’s been jamming out lulling west coast songs for years, but he masks this similarity with his lo-fi Dylan-like vocals.

Costa is at his strongest on Mobile Chateau when he’s at his most believable. The lax folk-like tunes feel as if they’re being forced out, but there are times on the album when he seems to be exactly who he is: a lover of ’60s music. Take the charming ditty “Drive” for example. It’s a charming little poppy piano piece with a fab four chorus. Sure it’s cliché. In fact, it might even be a bit silly in its naive devotion to its forerunners and its lyrical content. But through all of this, I believe Costa. The song has a charisma that’s lacking on many of his other songs.

Throughout the rest of the album, I keep seeking for another flash of air-headed, silly fun, but it’s just not there. Instead we get moping and sappy numbers like “Painted Face,” which would put me to sleep with its trancelike guitar repetition if not for some pretty surreal lyrics. Costa reflects bitterly on personal identity with his words, but when painted on a canvas of drowsy cyclical guitar strings, the song looses its meaning and instead forces my mind and eyelids shut. The same can be said for much of the album.

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wow. let me just say that i have heard the new album and i am so "psyched!" the only correlation between mc's music and jack's is that they are both singer songwriters. do you like old music? it seems to me that matt has obviously been going back to roots of the artists who have inspired him. the 60s in music changed music forever and all those fantastic bands of that time were all influenced and mostly covers of old timey blues tunes. i think this new album only shows more of matt costa himself. i think it is some of the best stuff he's done. i can't wait until he comes to boulder! 


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is this guy on crack? eli likes galactic and galactic is galacwhack! matt costa is legit



Shitty Aritical. Matt Costa fucking rules



How did you get this album already?

Matt Fucking rocks and your an idiot.



I completely agree with the other posters, Costa is much better than Jack Johnson, what i have heard of his new  album has blown me away. This music is for those with superior taste, i guess it's a matter of opinion but us experts know what we are talking about, for the rest of you i suggest you check out GaGa's new album. Long live the genius that is Matthew Costa!!


I love Jack Johnson, and I don`t like Costa, so what?