Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Kalle Mattson: "Anchors" (album review)

One of the most pleasant surprises I had in 2009 was Whisper Bee, the delightful debut from Sault Ste Marie band Kalle Mattson.  On March 22nd, they return with their highly-anticipated (by me anyway) sophomore record Anchors.

Juno-nominated Howie Beck (Feist, Hayden, Jason Collett) produces the new record.

Often when I describe a band's music as 'moody', it means it's dark and brooding, and that it takes you to a shadowy place.  That's some of the charm of Kalle Mattson, songs like "Sunlight" undeniably set a mood, however, that mood is calming and puts you in a better headspace than you were in before the song began.  That's a rare ability.

That mood firmly implanted with the album opener "Come & Gone".  The track almost sounds like a nippy autumn Superior night, one can almost see the guitars twinkle like the sun reflecting off the Lake.  Kalle Mattson keeps you cozy with a warm, rootsy heart that radiates inside a song like "Singing Knives".

The arrangements are a little more expansive this time around.  The group step out from the moody and add welcomed dashes of up tempo rock ("Thick As Thieves", "A Deepened End") or fun, free-wheeling pop ("Good Morning Goodnight").

There's been some tangible growth in Kalle Wainio as a lyricist too.  His songs are more poetic and vivid in imagery.  Moreover, Wainio's vocal delivery is perfectly suited to this tracks.  His detached-yet-confident style makes it sound like he's a true believer in these songs, and that can't help but rub off on you as the listener.

The isolation of Sault Ste Marie shouldn't keep Kalle Mattson at bay for long.  An album like this deserves to be championed far and wide.

Kalle Mattson has two Toronto shows as part of CMW, March 9th at Hard Luck Bar and March 10th at Mitzi's Sister.

Best tracks: "Thick As Thieves", "Good Morning Goodnight"

Track listing for Anchors:
  • Come & Gone
  • Thick As Thieves
  • Covered It All
  • Good Morning Goodnight
  • Singing Knives
  • Too High To Fall
  • Sunlight
  • A Deepened End
  • Shattered Minds
  • For Better Or For Worse

Kalle Mattson's website

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