Matt Brevner – Eclectricity [Review]
Vancouver, BC – Eclectricity is Matt Brevner’s fourth studio album and the long-awaited follow up to his 2012 release, The Bushido Project. A majority of the album was written and recorded five years prior to it’s October 2014 release and with it’s dark undertones, broad sound and heart-wrenchingly emotional lyrics, it plays like a coming-of-age story.
With tracks ranging from the careless, alcohol induced adventures on the Fembot assisted “Down She Go” with lyrics like “slide into the rental car / double vodka Red Bull / smokin’ on a cigarette / tryin’ to stay level” to the introspective questioning of “Carousel” – “ I just need a minute, so I can catch my breath / feeling like my cheque’s cashed, I’m already spent / what good is a nickel when the world don’t make sense?” Brevner exhibits evolution as an artist and as a man.
The album starts off heavy with “Supervillainmusic” kicking in the door with vigorous distortion and viciously sharp wordplay. Brevner draws comparison to plenty of epic villains from Cyclops to Hook, immediately conveying a collected confidence and a rather callous disposition. This is a good indication of how the album carries out but with more personal turmoil uninhibitedly spilled across beats and assorted production. Brevner wears his heart on his sleeve throughout most of Eclectricity.
Guest features seem strategically chosen; while only four additional artists appear on Eclectricity, they individually take the project to great lengths with their vast diversity. Moka Only drops a verse on the Vancouver flavoured “Crashed” where Brevner refers to the former Swollen Member as “Moka The God” – a heavy compliment coming from an up-and-comer who will predictably take a major part in pushing Vancity’s next generation of artists with his bsharp movement. KAi Sky Walker features on several tracks as well and his raw grittiness and ear-punching rhymes peak on cuts like “Potential” and “Yer Too Cool”.
Dutch Robinson gives Eclectricity a distinguished maturity with his soul-saturated choruses, especially on “Jitters”. This track was originally released on Madchild’s Dope Sick album but for those who are un-phased by the Battleaxe movement, the absence of Madchild’s verse is somewhat relieving. With it’s haunting piano, choir supported hook and chilling first verse “Jitters” could have easily been the most powerful track on the album although without the addition of a second verse, it’s cut off while leaving something to be desired.
“Back And Forth” pulls on the heart-strings and while Eclectricity‘s features add up in a major way, Brevner holds his own on this joint, turning a tormented love story into a well executed record. Almost everyone has had that kind of toxic affair that has changed their perspective on love and relationships and Brevner’s lyrical realness is uncomfortably relatable in lyrics like “Just so you know, the other side the bed is cold / girl you kill me, please don’t string me along”.
The chemistry between Brevner and Fembot – who’s features reign on three out of ten tracks – is absolutely undeniable. Her sound is uniquely refined and every part she plays on Eclectricity is a refreshing compliment to Brevner’s often dark open book. Closing track “Swing Hop” describes it’s sound in the name. Strong rhythm and drums with an upbeat tempo, Fembot has that 2005 Esthero sound. Think “Wikkid Lil’ Grrrls” but lyrics about bad boy tastemakers dressed in designer clothes. A savoury way to close out the ten track project.
Eclectricity is an expression of poignant transition; like the season change from summer to fall where days are shorter, nights grow colder and the end of summer flings leave you with memories of a warmer time. Once the bitter reality of change kicks in, there’s somehow hope that comes from fundamental growth. Brevner realizes his own potential and self-destruction is only an option if it means progression. He isn’t stopping at Eclectricity and it’s obvious. This is just a peek into his younger mind and with his clear thirst for wisdom he is sure to grow only more ferocious.
Eclectricity is available on iTunes here and comes with previously released bonus album, The Bushido Project.
Written by KassKills for HipHopCanada