Matt Bartram, who has had a decent stint with both Air Formation and with You Walk Through Walls, is an accomplished master of hazy shoegaze-pop. Moments Before is a particularly strong set of his solo material, with a gorgeous sweeping feeling and occasional crashing distortion amongst the melodic production. On Drifting Falling.
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- Moments Before by Matt Bartram
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 23 February 2016
Having had a fifteen-year career making music up to this point, Matt Bartram is a veteran in the field of shoegaze and dream pop. Working on his own, he has added eight songs to his canon here, all lilting melody, crisp snares and pleasant, fuzzy distorted guitars and electronic effects. He recorded this album at home on his eight track and is most at home working on improvisations based around simple rhythms and drone. It's quite a hypnotic, ambient sound that's best experienced - like all the best 'ambient sounds', I find - at almost skull-crushingly LOUD volume. Yep, loud. Very loud. Or on headphones. Like I am doing, now. I'm sure my ears will thank me later, the way my heart is doing now.
"Walls Around You" is a very pretty song. It might be my favourite. It's all about melody and texture contextualised, in a shoegaze-y way, of course. It drifts, like those little fluffy clouds in summer. Well, not summer these days, you know, now that we're close to the Apocalypse or something, with all the storms we have every day, all over the world, and constant rain in Britain. No, the fluffy clouds of 'our' youth; for those of us approaching *cough* Middle Age. "Visualise" is like Ulrich Schnauss at his pretty, noisiest best. Or slow-slow-Slowdive. "Never" continues this dreamy-yet-visceral thrill ride, a definite mbv vibe here. Bloody beautiful it is. "Half of the Time" - more Sonic Cathedralising, shards of sound penetrating you, embracing you (because they love you and you love them! Those shards.) Slow-mo Shields-ism (Kevin but not Kevin. It's Matt. Remember? Yes. Of course you do.)
"What Can We Do" is the loveliest song you've heard in the last ten minutes, or even since the last, um, mbv album (yes, him again; there's no getting away from it), and drones on and out after seven blissful minutes. Final track, "A Moment Before", might be the loveliest, most sorrowful, sonically perfect song ever. It's my favourite song on the album anyway. I like this record very much. Have a listen. You might take it to your heart the way I did. Or you might not. Who knows with people?
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