REVIEW: Matt Corby’s “Telluric” Has Finally Arrived

Telluric. Adjective. Of the earth as a planet.

You can already tell from the title; this album is going to get deep. I can tell you after listening to it – that’s an understatement.

I’d been a fan of Matt Corby since his Australian Idol days. I was twelve years old and overcome by the cute sixteen-year-old boy with a guitar strapped to his chest and a gorgeous voice. It’s been almost ten years since he left our television screens. Now, the fresh-faced teenage heartthrob has grown into a strong scruffy man with a point to prove.

The stigma of the television talent show dies here; Matt Corby truly is a talented soul.

Belly Side Up opens the album slowly, escalating our anticipation. He greets us with an interesting sound. The percussion is strong, beating alongside his beautiful voice that hasn’t lost its golden touch. The collection of sounds creates an eerie feeling that creeps into the listener’s ear, showing off the incredible production of the album nice and early.

We’re still unsure of what we’re in for when Monday rolls around. Aside from Corby’s voice, the main star of his music seems to be his percussion, with strong rhythms driving each track. The clicking sound and the choir of voices in harmony lead us into the surprisingly gospel-like melody. Corby sings over the angelic choir that provide the base for this standout single.

The tone of Wrong Man stood out to me as interesting. Following the upbeat Knife’s Edge and Oh Oh Oh, it had a strangely dark sound, starting off simple and slow, with the backing track growing in weight as the chorus kicks in. His voice takes on a low pitch that almost threatening, eventually softening, showing off his vocal range.

Sooth Lady Wine changes the game once again with a retro sound, rich in guitars and light percussion. It let off some smooth, cool vibes that can be difficult to pull off. It’s probably the type of song you’d hear in your head if you saw someone you hadn’t seen for years who seemed to have blossomed over time. It seems quite fitting to me.

Although I tried to focus on the words to investigate his song writing skills, I was unable to throughout most of the tracks on the first listen due to all the other stuff going on in the background. Each song contains so many layers that the listener can easily get lost in the beautiful music that has obviously had so much attention. You can understand why it took him such a long time to produce the album.

Finally Good To Be Alone, backed with just a slow and simple guitar melody, allowed me to just listen to the story he was singing. The message was comforting and relatable. His beautiful voice reassures repeatedly the listener that “it’s gonna be better”, providing lounge room therapy for any situation.

The album ends all too soon with Empires Attraction. It is a dramatic close, especially if you make the connection to his regret of being on Australian Idol.

“I have always felt like an outcast, never been in any music scene. I made another f … ing mistake and went on Idol and completely jeopardised myself from actually being in a music community,” he told News Corp before the album’s release.

It seems to be about his struggles to be taken seriously as a musician post-Idol. “No one’s gonna save us // superman can’t save us // Hollywood create us // They’re the ones who take us.”

It sounds hopeless and lonely. It’s as if everything has been taken from him, leaving a broken man behind. Suddenly, we have a glimmer of hope. He reminds us that even in the darkest times, we can still be our own hero. “We must be courageous // we are gonna save us.”

Corby’s voice has grown in maturity as he has. It’s sharp and smooth, while raw and folkish. No pop star dribble at all. In fact, he makes it difficult for anyone to box him up into a specific genre, which is something every artist strives to do. He just makes music; plain and simple.

So was it worth the wait? I’d say so.

Listen to these track live at Matt’s tour of the country. Find the nearest show to you and check him out.

Tues 12 April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney – SOLD OUT

Wed 13 April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Wed 20 April – QPAC Theatre, Brisbane

Thurs 28 April – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

Sun 1 May – Palais Theatre, Melbourne – SOLD OUT

Mon 2 May – Palais Theatre, Melbourne

Thur 5 May – Riverside Theatre, Perth

Telluric is available now via Universal Music Australia.

Image: Tone Deaf