As a man with a healthy appetite, I am more than happy to eat my words. As a previous critic of Matthew Erickson's endeavour as Toy Gun Cowboy, I am pleased to introduce his latest release, "Big Blue", as a pleasantly surprising journey around the clock.
Erickson tools his music to try and capture his surroundings to mixed effect. "Compton Blvd, 4:30am" is rather atmospheric, but isn't the most interesting song on the album. Take, for instance, "Blowing Holy Smoke". A familiar riff welcomes the drums into the picture. This, perhaps, is the sound that has tried to escape on previous releases.
"Chatterbox" is laden with beats that megabucks hip-hop stars would pawn their bling for and Erickson's vocals - never the highlight of any song on this release - are well supported. Erickson's intent to capture his surroundings in song will seemingly always result in something tedious slipping into the mix, much like any other act. This album, however, shows the real potential in Toy Gun Cowboy's sound. The production quality allows Erickson to run amok with his sometimes elaborate, sometimes minimal, but always abstract sound effects and beats.
As with anything vaguely conceptual, it's an album that you'll either adopt and adore or dismiss as arty buffoonery. What Eriksson has achieved on this release is a very decent balance of catchy electro-pop and seemingly absurd lyrics.
Available from CD Baby.