It’s been said that Matty James Cassidy has rock’n’roll in his veins – for some people, that might be an empty-worded boast. But not here. It’s clear to hear from the opening seconds of Said & Done that this is possibly even an understatement. This is a guy for whom rock’n’roll is as natural as breathing is to the rest of us. The fact he’s able to incorporate a harmonica into the song is brilliant – for my money, there aren’t enough great songs out there with harmonicas in them (although I’ve likely forgotten about a good few).
Moving on to Contradiction In Terms and, although there’s sadly no harmonica, there’s no let up in great music. This is a song that feels at once refreshingly new and yet pleasingly familiar. It’s an odd feeling to have, but it’s odd in a good way. Before this album, I’d never heard Matty James Cassidy before (though I’m fairly certain I’d heard the name mentioned somewhere!), but after just two songs, it feels like I’ve been listening to him for years.
Anodyne almost takes things down a gear (though from the high-octane opening double, that’s not hard). It feels almost stripped back and that we’re getting an inside into, well, someone’s life. Sometimes with this sort of song, it can feel like we’re looking at things from a distance. Here, though, it feels like we’ve got a ringside (or table side) seat for everything that’s going on.
The Art Of Falling Down feels like one of those songs where you’d have your arms round your friends, singing along to it. In different times, of course – when pubs are back open and this is either being played on the juke box or, preferably, by Matty himself, that’s where you’ll find me. Add to this some great guitarmanship (and a bit of harmonica), and you’ve got yourself (for my money) the best song on the album.
Rosary brings an almost sing-along quality to it, and definitely feels longer than its 2:40 duration – in a good way, though. This is a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on something like Peaky Blinders or Red Dead Redemption – it just has that sort of je ne sais quoi that would work perfectly in either of these places.
Leave Your Heart At Home brings things back up several gears, and there’s a hint of Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders with this one. It’s the sort of song that’ll get your head nodding along in no time as you sip on a pint. Everything is on point for this song, and it’s definitely one of the many highlights on the album.
Moving on to the title track, Old Souls, and this is as close to a “lighters in the air” song as we’ve come. There’s a growly quality to Matty’s voice on this one that suits this song perfectly. Add to that a bit of saxophone (I know, it’s no harmonica, but still – it’s a great underused instrument) and we’ve another great song.
If there’s ever a song that sounds like its title, then Down On My Luck is it – there’s an almost mournful tone to Matty’s voice here that makes you feel sorry for him, even before you’ve really started to listen to the lyrics themselves. Once you listen to them closely, your twinge of empathy (triggered by his voice) gets magnified massively – and you’ll find yourself swaying along with the song, maybe even singing along after you’ve listened to it a few times. Which you will. It’s one of those songs that really does warrant listening to it a few times. If not more.
After All brings the swagger back, the strut that we heard in Said & Done reappearing to great effect. This is another rollocking song that sounds better and better each time you listen to it – and believe me, I’ve listened to it a good few times already!
Born Ancient has the feel of a traditional Irish folk song – and while it’s quite different from anything else on the album, it doesn’t feel out of place. If anything, it rounds everything off nicely and feels like the closing song of a gig that you didn’t really want to end. In fact, if you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself sitting in a wee Irish pub with Matty and his band playing in the corner, fire blazing, pints flowing and the craic being mighty.
And with that, we’re at the end of the album. For an album that’s only 35 minutes long, it feels (in the best possible way) a good bit longer. It’s definitely an album that I’ll be revisiting – and I’ll definitely be trying to catch Matty live when gigs restart!
Score: – 9/10
Check out the track listing below:
- Said & Done
- Contradiction In Terms
- The Art Of Falling Down
- Leave Your Heart At Home
- Old Souls
- Down On My Luck
- After All
- Born Ancient
Fans can find MATTY JAMES CASSIDY at the following locations: