Before you judge: I am growing a beard. I am nineteen (19) years old. I really like Bon Iver. I am a (sometime) watcher of Australian Idol. This isn’t the Matt Corby you know (and/or loved). Yes, Matt Corby is the one with those piercing blue eyes who captured the hearts and romantic fantasies of tweenagers across this barren country not more than a fluttering year ago and now he’s back, unmoved by his shock defeat to one Natalie Gauchi (who the fuck?), stronger and more Rev-Iver-ed up then ever. That was supposed to read like revved. Obviously I have to stop with the motoring jokes.
So what’s happened to the lad on his gap year? Well, it seems young Matt took the fame and fortune (or not?) in his stride, stepping all the way over to New York to work with famed songwriters – including two who have worked for Ben Lee and James Blunt respectively. If those are a commendation or an insult, I can’t quite tell. Still, attempting to fashion himself in the style of troubadours like Buckley and Dylan, Australia’s second-favourite Corby (Mercedes, not her slag of a sister, being first), has shed his pretty-boy look, grown a beard, some balls and has, by the looks of things, moved past trying to impress Marcia, Dicko and that other fat guy. Sandilands I think his name is. Instead, he’s chosen to take what seems to be almost an inevitably doomed path and reinvented himself as singer/songwriter and young folk icon. Ask Bob Evans, Josh Pyke, Lior et al just how hard it is to crack it on those lines. Clearly Jessica Mauboy was onto something when she snared Flo Rida.
Regardless of the dubious commercial value of his work, this track – the first off his forthcoming debut Song For… – demonstrates a startling maturity and a refined sound well ahead of his years. Whether the lyrics are all really Christian (he and Gauchi were, after all, the two finalists amongst a throng of Hillsong Church members – like Scientology, but funner!) and the record label (a la Nas’ ‘Nigger’/Untitled album) decided to truncate the EPs title from ‘Song For Jesus’ is yet to be seen. What is obvious on the face of it is that this kind of laid-back, folksy harmonic pop is definitely listenable and should well resonate with audiences globally. Unlike say, Lisa Mitchell (another Idol workhorse who struck it alone after SonyBMG) whose Australian accent is so plainly obvious it could offend, Corby does well in masking his and sounding sweet and sultry at the same time. It almost screams Bon Iver. He’s done well enough for himself. With divine providence on his side, Corby must be in with a chance.
Yeah, can’t get an mp3 yet. For the meantime, marvel at the facial hair (nothing on me, I can confirm).
Matt Corby – Letters