Recorded in their San Diego home, 2019's Paradise finds the sibling duo of guitarist Jared and drummer Jonathan Mattson moving away from the psychedelic modal jazz that marked their 2018 reworking of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and towards their own beatific brand sunshine pop. Whereas their maverick take on A Love Supreme found them drawing heavily upon their jazz-trained roots, Paradise is a much more laid-back and pop-oriented production. Cuts like the opening "Naima's Daughter" and "Moonlight Motel" are sparkling groovers built around Jared's bright-toned arpeggio's and lyrical guitar leads, all of which bring to mind a vintage late '60s/early '70s vibe that falls somewhere in between George Benson and the hippie vocal group Free Design. Paradise is also the first album to feature vocals from the pair, and tracks like "Essence" and "Shell Beach" bring to mind the dreamy shoegaze of Ride mixed with the languid ease of the Carpenters. That "Essence" also features an improvisational nod to Jimi Hendrix's 1968 version of "All Along the Watchtower" speaks to how thoroughly the Mattsons have imbibed their influences. As with their past work, part of what makes the duo's playing on Paradise so compelling is how Jared is able to expertly overlay his jazz guitar and basslines in a way that feels incredibly seamless. And yet, the album embodies a live analog sound that feels much more connected to 20th century vinyl than to the digital era it was recorded in. Above all, Paradise plays like a blissed-out evocation of late '60s seaside summer romance. On "Essence" they sing, "We should get all sweaty and jump into the ocean/It would be intoxicating, like the sunset."
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar