Western Australian Blues Rocker Matty T Wall released his highly anticipated new album Sidewinder on the 2nd of July (coming after 2016’s ‘Blue Skies’). With the help of Stephen Walker on bass, Ric Whittle on drums, and Gordon Cant on keyboards; Matty T Wall’s Sidewinder is blending elements across multiple genres, most notably Blues, Hard Rock, and Pop. Wall’s guitar proficiency seems to be the biggest thing to stand out across the album, like a strong beacon guiding the musical proceedings. Although, his vocals hold plenty of weight too and seem to have improved majorly since the last album.
The album’s attention grabbing opener is “Slideride”. We’ve got a walking bass running at a steady-quick speed, unfailingly stable drums working like a steam engine, snippy-sharp hits of brass just in the right places, and Matty T Wall’s electric slide playing which would leave George Thorogood in the dust.
The title track seemed to have been picked as the first single for the album, and they’ve chose pretty wisely as it oozes a rocking, AC/DC-riffy sound with a very catchy chorus (I found the lyrics stuck in my head, even days afterwards: ‘I’m a sidewinder, I’m a devil rider, oh yeah.’), and a quality bad-ass solo, featuring tremolo picking and pick-tapping hammer-ons.
“Something Beautiful” conveys great strength in Wall’s vocals over most other tracks, especially effective when the guitar lines are playing in unison. And that coda is terrific! The cover of Freddie King’s “Going Down” is the heaviest version of the song I’ve ever heard (in a good way), and it gets quite heavily textured too, building up to the end with a soaring string section and powerful backing vocals.
“Sophia’s Strut” is short and refreshingly stripped back – just over-driven guitar and syncopated percussion and hand claps here. The simple formula gels extremely well, just wish it was longer.
Like any versatile guitarist, Matty T Wall doesn’t show a super-exclusivity to a particular type of guitar. He’s often heard and seen with Les Pauls and mainly showing preference to a vintage-white SG Custom, but on “Walk Out The Door” I sure as hell reckon it’s a Stratocaster (I could be wrong, but if I am I’ll eat a Tube Screamer). The overall progression and riff is reminiscent of SRV and Double Trouble, and the accompanying brass section accents the song in such a way that it’s almost Ska-like (just the brass though, nothing else).
The album ends with “Mississippi Kkkrossroads”, which is honestly a weird track compared to the others. Wall and co have created some kind of hybrid here I can only describe as Ghetto-Metal-Hip Hop. The crunchy guitar and thumpy bass is at the fore, while an acoustic slide guitar ominously plays in the background.
Overall, with Sidewinder Matty T Wall is playing the types of music he loves while simultaneously being creative with such a familiar bunch of genres. It’s all pretty fresh sounding stuff; in that it doesn’t really sound like anything I’ve heard at least in the past couple of years, but you can still clearly hear where Wall is pulling inspirations from. He’s making some really cool music and I can only hope he will get some more exposure across the pond, in the world’s biggest Blues and Blues-Rock loving nation; the U.S.A.
For now though if you’re in Australia, Matty T Wall and his band just started a tour to support the new album, with dates in Sydney, Newcastle, and Melbourne among others. So get out there and check him out!
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Shake It
– Walk Out The Door
The Big Hit
– Walk Out The Door
Review by Ethan Burke