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June 24, 2024

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Major Matt Mason USA
Me Me Me (Olive Juice/Fortified Records)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

Someone named Cindy Wong, writing in "Pop Culture Detox," states that "If Jonathan Richman, Michael Stipe and Billy Bragg became one super human being, that creation would sound like Matt Mason," while no less an authority on such matters as Lenny Molotov boldly proclaims -- and I misquote him not -- "Major Matt Mason is one of the best songwriters in the world."

Well, for once it seems, there really IS call for such hyperbull, because "Me Me Me" is one of those rare, understatedly stripped down (as in one guitar, one voice, and sometimes only one microphone) endeavors that not only sustains itself for its full, one-hour playing time, but actually beckons you immediately back for still more.

Sure, I wholeheartedly concur agree with Ms. Wong's above-cited Unholy Trinity, but may I also add to that already formidable stew the songwriting chops of Unplugged-vintage K. Cobain (especially on Me x 3's closer "Plutonium"), the leap-frogging melodic sense of the sweetly solo Dave Rave ("Budapest" and especially "I Know You Know"), and the keen lyrical eye of fellow Manhattan anti-folkster-cum-popgod Mark Johnson ("The Ballad of Danny Scheer" is no less than a brilliant possible sequel to Mark's classic "Larry Stein.") And while this disc's deliberate occasional -- tho never short of perfectly apt -- semi-fi'ness will scare away only those listeners not already familiar with the sonic wonders of Jandek and/or Daniel Johnston, "Me Me Me"'s true shining light is indeed Major Matt Himself, who demonstrates that his palette of musical tricks is every bit as wide as the smirk I bet he had plastered slyly across his mug during the making of this splendid little masterpiece.

File Under: Delightfully Indulgent!

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