Matthew Shaw shows his love with electronic pop

Michael Stockinger

Matthew Shaw’s new EP, “Convenience”, blends electronic pop and singer/songwriter rock, exploring the monotony of relationships and lost love.

The new EP is full of an electronic sound as if The Postal Service were fronted by Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst.

Shaw sounds exactly like Oberst, with a high pitched and slow voice that on some songs compliments the music, but on others ends up sounding like nails scraped down a chalkboard.

Throughout the EP, Shaw’s vocals begin to bore, and lack any real harmony or range.

Shaw definitely showcases his talent at blending synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, and whatever other electronic instrument he can get his hands on, and turning it into a hell of a catchy beat on songs such as “The Drunk” and “Deadlines and Days Off”.

The first song on the release is “The Drunk”, which is easily the best on the EP, with an excellent mesh of guitar, drum beats, and computer effects, with Shaw’s delayed vocals actually complimenting the odd music.

On “Deadlines and Days Off”, Shaw blends overlaps keyboards, synths, and a drum machine, making for a unique and upbeat mix.

Convenience begins to drag on “Quicksand”, where Shaw’s vocals reach a whiny crescendo, forcing the listener to quickly lower the volume, and then desperately find and down a few aspirin in order to get through the song.

On “These Lists are Tombstones”, the use of synthesizers is overdone, sounding like an old Nintendo game with the volume turned up too high, although the drum beat.

The last song on the EP, “Late Nights”, is much more of the same, nothing special here; just more synths, a little keyboards, drum beats, sludgy guitar, and of course more whiny vocals from Shaw that irritate with more and more listens.

Unfortunately, as unique as the sound may seem to be to those who haven’t heard the bands he is trying to emulate, Shaw sounds exactly like the Postal Service and Bright Eyes, and in this world of marketing he definitely fills the niche market between these two groups.

This only hurdles him into the “if you like this, try-” market of posers that sound exactly like another musician or group, which are a goldmine for record companies trying to cash in on their success.

There is no originality here, and no matter how many time one listens to the CD, it just sounds familiar as if you had heard it before somewhere else.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Michael Stockinger can be reached at [email protected].