‘Moments Before’ casts Matt Bartram on a sea full of low slung shoe gazed waves and anti static walls of noise. I reviewed his fourth record ‘The Dreaming Invisible’ for this site in 2013. Back then I was wondering how he made such a big sound out of small means. Now I imagine I can ride the vapour trails his aqueous soundscapes formulate.
It visualises itself in the nature of new wave St. Vincent. Gorgeous liquid harmony, it’s a place with no excess, primarily settled in glazed surf pop, with elements of Caribou also whisked in the mix. The function of Bartrams voice seems to be the instrumental chewing gum that gets stuck to the mouth of the well engineered synths. It wouldn’t be out of place round here on a set of Slowdive demos for the Eno co-produced Souvlaki album.
To this extent, Matt can be connected in kindred spirit to the etherealness of that bands front man, Neil Halstead. He’s complimenting the same auto didactic ideal, being comfortable with controlling everything by the end as much by himself as possible. He’ll possibly always be a drifter, but ‘Moments Before’ stakes it’s claim as one of the best recent albums that I own. Go catch a wave, then come to the shore with this gem.