The Mattson 2

Introducing the Mattson 2

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Introducing the Mattson 2 is a quirky little debut release -- slightly longer than a typical EP but not quite long enough to be an album, it's also priced somewhere on the borderline between the two types of release; to complicate things further, it features a "bonus track" that brings the album's total length to just about half an hour. This could be a sly joke, and if so, it's in keeping with the ironic layers evident in the music. Guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Jared Mattson and his drum-playing brother Jonathan Mattson (assisted by bassist Aakaash Israni and a shifting array of additional sidemen) deal in straight-ahead jazz with a seriously quirky edge: "Longing of the Leftist" features skittery, almost jungly drumming, gorgeous vibes (courtesy of John McEntire), and startlingly twangy guitar; "Julian the Mountain" is a lovely ballad with a free-for-all group solo in the middle; "Met" is built on a nicely loping and faintly Latin feel. The Mattson 2 have cultivated a sort of shambolic tightness that creates a weird sort of inner tension -- they sound loose unless you listen closely, at which point you notice how perfectly in sync they are. Not everything works perfectly here; the trumpet on "Airiar Britar" is a bit too pretentiously scrappy and the melody never really coheres, for example. But for the most part, this is a very interesting and impressive debut from a pair of significant young talents.

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