Matthew Carroll: ‘Left To Burn’ – takes on the inanity of today’s pop with intelligence

Matthew Carroll is a singer, band leader, and song writer based out of Birmingham, Alabama. His debut album, ‘Left To Burn’, will be available on February 1st, 2018. A mix of 90s influenced Alternative Rock and high-energy indie pop, the 12 songs found on the recording were whittled down from an original choice of 200 songs. For a decade, Matthew performed as a cover musician, playing all over the country in bars, restaurants and private events, honing his skills and then spending three years planning, writing, and working tirelessly to make his first album a reality. Matthew self-funded the production of this album, spending every penny, along with the help of some Kickstarter backers, to make the project as professional as he could.

Matthew Carroll is the type of songwriter that can balance maximalist alt-pop on a razor’s edge for an entire album.  He brings emotion in tons. In that sense, the music draws out the purest essence of Carroll. When he’s charming, he’s so remarkably charming and knows it. When he’s clever, the same holds true. When he’s singing sincerely and digging into his deep angst-ridden emotions, the instrumentation doubles down.

That makes dramatic songs like “Backup Man”, “Pilots And Sailors”, and “Love” the most affective. Carroll sings in that crystal clear resonating voice, reciting fears, doubts and personal convictions. It’s full of beautiful moments, with the music framing him hauntingly.

Compared to the current state of pop and rock, Matthew Carroll is a fresh breath of sincerity, casual sarcasm and edgy angst. The singer-songwriter speaks to a boundless audience with his very relatable lines, which give him the envied position of being one of the few underground composers to take on the inanity of today’s pop with any intelligence, without limiting his rich mainstream sound.

A great storyteller, Carroll thrives on examining relationships, and those things that needle and surprise us from within. Furthermore in his narratives, you can always sense very real experiences whispering from the shadows, which gives his songs an extra level of authenticity.

Beneath the versatile vocal flourishes and pop sheen of his songs, Matthew Carroll’s attitude ranges from heartfelt to smirking to unforgiving – sometimes all three at once. Perhaps what makes ‘Left To Burn’ so satisfying is that while it indeed rocks, with some excellent instrumentation and a savvy guitar at the helm, it relies heavily on Carroll’s primary instrument – his voice. And the singer has built these songs on a solid melodic foundation.

Indeed, his guitar too, is an infectious instrument throughout the recording, balancing the band’s sound, but refraining from any overindulgent use, with a blend of class, energy, and subtle restraint – “Ex-Girlfriend” and “Heart On Fire” being prime examples of these elements at work.

On tracks like “She Just Wants Me For My Body” and “All My Love” Carroll soars often enough to make you feel he has a set of masterpieces under his belt, but he is not one that foregoes his raw strengths in favor of so called ‘musical maturation’.

So while the songs are bright and shiny on the outside, they’re simmering and seething on the inside. More often than not, his songs aspire to something much deeper than just surface values. There are few artists capable of pulling that off these days.


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