Matt Whipkey’s “Underwater” Reviewed (See Video Here)
I can’t pick em, sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get em wrong, but I would make a lousy A&R man because I would be banging down the door at Universal screaming, Matt Whipkey is the future of rock and roll. And I might be right, but if 2013’s astonishing Penny Park: Omaha, NE: Summer 1989 -an album I raved about for months and in retrospect probably underestimated any way (he should have named it Penny Park, the title put people off a little, they got the wrong idea) then how will “Under Water”, the title track to Matt’s upcoming album, do better? How will it get him from Omaha to nyc?
I dunno, but it sure should.
Matt is like Springsteen circa The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle, without the r&b influences. He is a storyteller and a song spinner, his songs are always winking at the mythic and this one is doing exactly that, a pure melodic joy, “Underwater” is like a glorious summer day where it starts to rain, but next thing you know it is raining too much. It is uneasy, on edge.
I mentioned Bruce and while I don’t know Matt’s story, this is blue collar songs by a guy who went to college, there is an intellectual intelligence about it, a sense of the tick tock of a thinker, and while Penny Park was the nostalgia album, Underwater also seems to be looking a little behind its back. Or maybe it is the sound, which is absolutely unaffected by modern rock or modern pop. It goes its own way, it lives on its own terms always.
Matt Whipkey is Omaha’s best export since Conor Oberst, rhyming “texas booze and ostrich boots” he summons the spirit of Stevie Ray before going back under water. The album will kill.