I was captured instantly by the line in Matt Costa’s opening track from Songs We Sing, “Yellow Taxi,” where he dreams of how the car-for-hire can take him away. This is especially fitting as I sit with two phones going, one in each ear, and the afternoon sunshine starts to beat through the windows, beckoning me to breathe outside. This seems to be Costa’s strongest trait, to comfort and soothe in the midst of our everyday chaos.
Intricacy shines on “Astair” with the use of one of my favorite vintage instruments, the harpsichord. With all due respect to Mr. Prince, Costa is what I would consider the prince of pop on this hot August day, with the rosy freshness of “Oh Dear,” as the fragrant bubbles continue to rise up in a way that makes you want to hug the songwriter.
The production style of Phil EK, who also polished up previous Shins and Modest Mouse albums, seems to show his mark from track to track, creating what could be another soundtrack to the sequel “Garden State, Life Goes On.”
Speaking of life, it does have a way of doing the strangest things to take us in a different, and often better direction, although it may not seem so at the time. In the case of Matt Costa, who at the age of 12 had stuck his guitar on the shelf in exchange for the passion of the skateboard, things came to a screeching halt when he shattered his leg just as he started to turn pro. Now does his name sound familiar? Well, during the 18 months when he was in recovery and rehabilitation he picked up that ole’ gee-tar and started strummin’ and writin’ away.
It seems like he’s also had an eclectic music collection to keep him company, going from the sparkle of The Shins to the Strawberry Hills of the Beatles and a dusty road trip to the old country gas station on tracks such as “Sweet Rose” and harmonica drops in the title track “Songs We Sing.”
The skateboard world may miss one of their contenders but the music community has a new hero on the block, full of compelling insights and colorful stories. Welcome.
Matt Costa plays withAnimal Liberation Orchestra and Jack Johnson this coming Wednesday, August 24 at Red Rocks.