Songs We Sing
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2006, Volume 13, #3
Written by John Metzger
Matt Costa is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and like many of his ilk, he obsesses over everything. Although he learned to skateboard much later than most kids, he quickly adapted to the sport and became a professional. After severely injuring his leg, however, Costa found himself with plenty of free time on his hands, and he subsequently filled his 18-month stretch of rehabilitation by attempting to master the guitar.
To his credit, Costa did more than simply teach himself to play the instrument. He also began to write songs. Much as his commitment to skateboarding had reaped huge dividends in a relatively short period of time, so did his newfound musical aspirations. Costa attracted the attention of No Doubtís Tom Dumont, and the duo recorded a series of demos that eventually blossomed, with the help of producer Phil Ek, into Songs We Sing, his full-length debut.
Forget the high-profile assistance that Costa received in crafting Songs We Sing. Its success is due entirely to his perseverance and his dedication. While itís true that his influences remain front-and-center throughout the affair, he found ways of folding them together that keep his material sounding fresh and vibrant.
Numerous allusions to The Beatles are scattered throughout Songs We Sing, while the gently picked guitar patterns combined with the twinkling of a harpsichord lend a distinct, Donovan-esque flair to Astair that is difficult to shake. What keeps things interesting, however, is that Costa never stays in one place for very long. In jumping from the shimmering pop of Cold December to Ballad of Miss Kateís driving, blues-inflected groove and from the psychedelic shadings of the title track to the country-tinged, Buddy Holly-infused playfulness of Sweet Rose, he leverages his restless spirit in a way that transforms his borrowed refrains into a major asset. While Songs We Sing isnít necessarily "album of the year" material, it is a remarkably promising debut from a guy whose future currently seems to be filled with nothing but possibility.
Of Further Interest...
Songs We Sing is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box