It seems like it's been a while since we've heard from pop songster Matt Goutte. Seems only appropriate that he releases his latest effort Sunnyside as winter turns to spring. It also seems like he's been taking his time to get the perfect blend of his rockin' Cassingles project and his previous melancholy pop solo work.
Sunnyside is upbeat tunes and sad tales, melodic hooks and lonely lyrics. It's the Get Up Kids without the indie rock pomp or Weezer without waving the "geek pride" flag. I don't believe that New London has ever had a more true pop rock songwriter than Matt Gouette. There is a purity to his style that no one else can boast. This album more than anything else I have heard of his seems to have been written so that everyone would like it. I say that without any irony or malice, I say it with the utmost respect. Matt just seems to have tapped into a sound that people everywhere couldn't find fault with. It moves and it's got some push to it but it never loses it's sense of melody or it's hooks.
While Sunnyside does have it's more somber moments, Matt spaces them out between the snappier tunes. The Depeche Mode-ish "My Crumbling Heaven" is the filling to the sandwich of the fuzzy guitar riffs of "Nobody Calls" and the sweet saunter of "Fall Girl". My favorite tune though would have to be the album opener "Nine Kinds of Terrific". An obvious ode to the ups and downs of New London's bi-polar personality, Matt layers on the guitar and jumps in head first. A great introspective lead in to a forceful bridge section shows a great eye for song arrangements and dynamics. The album ends with a cover of Sandy "Sandman" Allen's "If I Ever Need You". The saddest tune on the album, Sandy sits in on pedal steel and adds to the atmosphere that Matt creates with the tremolo guitar and ambient keys. A fitting ending to an album such as this. A slow dance to remember the night by. I said it once and I'll say it again. You can not find fault with this EP for all it's pop goodness. It's just good pop songwriting and solid recording.
*You can pick up Sunnyside at The Telegraph - 19 Golden Street, New London