Matt Ivan - "Nothing For A Life" (CD)
"Nothing For A Life" track listing:
1. The Emergence
2. Porous Junkie
3. The Tiny Heaven
4. Wake It Up
6. Black Dress
7. Born To Die
8. Regal Eves Night
9. Wise and Size
10 Nothing For A Life
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on November 12, 2010
On "Nothing For A Life," New York-based Matt Ivan decides to go the "McCartney" route, singing and playing all of the instruments. The problem with a one-man-band album like this is that you're going to be judged based on the instrument you play least well.
In this particular case, Ivan is an excellent bass player, which comes as no shock, given that he says on his MySpace page that it's the one he plays most often when performing live (it's also the one he plays during the music video for "Enough," which comes with the album). There's some quite excellent fat-string fretwork on songs like "The Emergence," "Enough" and "Wise And Size," which have quite a bit of '70s strut.
Ivan is a pretty competent guitar player, laying down some thick riffs. He even adorns a few tracks with some simple solos that, while not complex, add quite a bit of texture to the songs.
Ivan's an OK drummer, with "Black Dress" having a nice sense of movement, despite the slower bass and guitar work.
The best track on the album, instrumentally speaking, is the slow "Regal Eves Night," which has a beautiful acoustic intro and Ivan's best guitar solo, as well as some soft keyboard playing.
Unfortunately, Ivan is a terrible singer, with a vocal style reminiscent of a tone-deaf Joey Ramone. He's at his absolute worst on "Porous Junkie," which is meant to be harrowing, but comes off as comically awful. There's not a single song on the disc in which his tonally challenged vocals can even be said to be adequate.
As an instrumental showcase, Matt Ivan's "Nothing For A Life" is perfectly OK. He's definitely got chops on bass to spare, but his singing is painful to the point of making the album unlistenable.
Highs: Some good bass-playing, and the instrumental side of things comes together well on "Regal Eves Night."
Lows: Horrible singing that wrecks every single song on the album.
Bottom line: Decent playing is completely overshadowed by horrible singing on this one-man-band effort.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Matt Ivan band page.