Matti Roots – BeatRoot | Album Review

Some artists seem to have been working the circuit so hard for so long, that by the time they get around to releasing their first album, much of the material is familiar enough to give it the feel of a Best of… collection. This is the case with Matti Roots and his quirkily-titled, labour-of-love debut BeatRoot.

Having previously recorded the whole album, Roots proceeded to do it again from scratch due to the original’s lack of homogeneity, according to the London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In that regards such a gamble paid off; BeatRoot’s flow is definitely consistent. Keeping it mellow, Matti’s laidback baritone/bass voice plays to its strengths; Roots doesn’t over-exert himself or distract from the album’s live and organic arrangements.

Much of BeatRoot is a kinky affair. Roots is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve whether the subject is obsession, heartbreak or horniness. He gets in touch with his inner Rogers-Nelson on synth-funk number ‘Lust’ and candidly chronicles an encounter with a young woman partial to S&M on the fabulously-produced, rock-influenced ‘Rough Love’. The lush, ethereal harmonies at the end of the track are almost at odds with the pain and hedonism that has gone before.

Sometimes however there is a little too much realness from Matti. On ‘What I’m Gonna Do’, possibly the album’s weakest song from a melodic perspective, Roots opines: ‘You’re so real, like a home-cooked meal… / I think I want to tuck in; so let’s get to f**kin’ ’.

Charming! Call me old fashioned but surely there are more endearing ways to a lady’s heart?

Nevertheless, with the exception of the well-intentioned but a tad trite ‘Don’t Worry’, Roots makes up for it with his introspective numbers. ‘Closure’, ‘I Miss You’ the bluesy, thoroughly likeable ‘Raw’ with its easy-does-it harmonies and the melodically compelling ‘Dope’ (a duet with songwriting legend Susaye Green) are all high points. The defiant, slightly melancholy tone of the horn section on ‘Closure’ reflects Roots’ saxophonist sensibilities, reminding us of what a well-rounded musician he is.

Although lyrically it tends to be a bit hit-and-miss, BeatRoot’s solid production, stick-in-the-cranium refrains, delectable BVs-not to mention eye-catching artwork- keep things highly appealing.

BeatRoot is out now through Otherway Records; purchase from iTunes or PLAY.