Spun: Matt Sharp

By Peter Hemminger

Some albums sound better when they blare from the stereo. Try hushing up Never Mind the Bullocks or Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and you’ll end up wondering why anyone listened in the first place.

Matt Sharp’s been in his share of loud groups before–both Weezer and the Rentals are certainly crankable–but his eponymous solo album is the opposite. Not to sound cruel, but Matt Sharp as an album improves as it gets more faint. It’s just the way the album is constructed.

Both of Sharp’s former groups packed every second with hooks, fuzz-tones, falsetto harmonies–things demanding to be heard. This newest one latches itself to the indie scene’s growing affection for Americana, with all the sparse acoustic strumming and spacious pianos that it implies. Vocally, Sharp isn’t particularly strong. His drawling whisper-singing gets the tunes across, but sounds weak instead of fragile, uncomfortable instead of soft.

It feels heartfelt, which is essential to the genre and is undeniably tuneful, but nothing about Matt Sharp screams to be listened to. Play it quiet enough that you can pretend Sharp is singing you to sleep and hear it at its best.


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