Album Review: Matty James – “The Road To No Town”
Hailing from Northern Ireland, Matty James’ output is a blend of spit ‘n’ sawdust country (almost veering on acoustic led cowpunk) that recalls his fellow Ulsterman Ricky Warwick’s solo output. Now on his second album, his debut effort, 2014’s Last One To Die was a strong effort and has raised expectations for the follow-up.
Happy to say that he delivers. The opening title track is a gritty ode to the less salubrious places he’s toured through, coming on like Tyla at his lean ‘n’ meanest (James has also toured with the former Dogs D’Amour frontman, so perhaps not a surprise). Sticks ‘n’ Stones meanwhile takes the riff from I Fought The Law and builds an anthemic slice of defiance around it, which is counterbalanced nicely by the mournful Heavy Heart which follows it.
If James does occasionally descend into cliché a bit such as on the unremarkable Win Or Lose, it’s more than compensated for by the Cash-isms of Money & The Devil, or the angry Dissatisfied. By the time the closing time lament of Cut With Dust rounds this one off, he’s more than done enough to justify the plaudits he’s been receiving.
A good second offering from Matty, and proof that he's continuing to grow in confidence as a songwriter. The Road To No Town is a worthy follow up to Last One To Die and definitely comes highly recommended if you like proper gritty scuffed-up dust 'n' bones country rock.