Sunday January 21st 2018

M.A.T.B. – “Every Path”

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M.A.T.B. – “Every Path”

 

Sometimes I feel as if I’m a “Spanish music critic,” and that people keep sending me music with American lyrics along with rock or country music.

I feel like that because, I’m listening and I’m thinking, “Where is the punk?” In the sound, in the feel, in the words? And that’s why Donny Hathaway is in this review.

 

M.A.T.B. – “Every Path”
Where Is The Love

 

With some of the music I get, I could tell them, if I was mean, you have as much chance of getting reviewed if, in fact, you did send me some Spanish salsa music.

But why am I taking up valuable space for this album just to bitch and play some great soul singers from the seventies?

Because other times I find music that is not overtly punk, that may rock at a moderate speed, that some would say is more fitting of the tag of garage or alternative, maybe even the tag of the dreaded indi?

But every note, every beat of “Every Path,” says punk to me.

Listening to their songs makes me think of everybody from The Stooges, Modern Lovers to early punk- especially The Clash and The Ramones. And when the songs turn up a notch, but never fully in hardcore, I’m hearing just a wee bit of Stiff Little Fingers.

But these references don’t mean much. Actually, they are just a minor clue.

What’s sustaining on impact is in the grooves of the tracks of this album and, believe me, the rawness and realness comes blaring through:

Though I hoped it was a song about Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, skating and holding hands in lesbian sexual bliss, “I Wanna Skate,” is actually about skateboarding. “I wanna get my shoes in the concrete, go the park and hit the streets.” Taken at a cool surf/punk beat this song also has a great, chiming melodic guitar lick worthy of The Buzzcocks. “It’s what I wanna, wanna do.” I wanna hear more songs so simply sublime and joyful as this one.

“Johnny grew up a selfish, little prick. Fuckin’ everyone over just for a fix.” A solid, punk/reggae rhythm sets up this song, “Johnny.” Very Clash like in it’s delivery. “Now he’s dying in the streets, no family, no friends.” This is a true story about drugs instead of some glamorized one. Great song that speaks some truths plainly.

“Brace Yourself” starts with a terrific bass line that reminds me of Devo’s song “Mongoloid” before a great, melodic guitar line comes slicing through. And soon the vocals accelerate into a frantic yelp like Kurt Cobain would do but taken one step further. “Living life is just so awful.” The guitar line swoops in like a calming influence but this is a passionate song full of anger and truth. And it’s a great one, as well.

Some blistering guitar, rolling drums and an agonized scream leads us into “It’s All You Do.” A rant against a friend falling out. “‘Cause fuckin’ up and getting drunk is all you do…it’s why we hate you.” Why it’s dedicated to me in the liner notes, I can’t fathom. But really this no straight edge creed but a poignant, powerful volley of disgust anchored with some great music and a breakdown with harmonics that leads us to a Blue Oyster Cult like outro, and blows it completely out of the ballpark.

“Hangin’ Out” is a Ramones like love story about a relationship actually working out with a nifty, little guitar solo, warm sentiment and is great, rockin’ punkin’ tune.

“Pasture” starts out with a barrage of distorted, power chords landing nicely into a bouquet of a pristine, melodic guitar line that leads into a frantic, hysterical, great passionate chorus. “Get ready to sell your life. ‘Cause from now on, you have no rights.” This a great fiery, fuckin’ tune. Second favorite on the album.

My favorite song is “Every Path,” and it’s an energetic punk rush about a friend moving out, “It doesn’t matter where you go. Bad apples will follow you. Down every path, down every road.” This is a powerful, potent song that seems to refer to a real life situation. And part of this song is about the regret towards stopping the inevitable. But the truth and love and energy and guts is inescapable and though that works great in this song, it works that way in life, too.
It contains some lyrics that, seriously, pertain to me, unfortunately- “Down every path, down every road. Know who you are, no matter where you go.” I vow to pay attention to this more clearly.

I saw M.A.T.B. play live recently at the Midway, the live review is on-line now, as well. Standing outside the club, during the show with Mark, the leader of the band, he gave me thanks for what we do.

I accepted  and said is was an honor to do what we do. But I explained we don’t put forth the sacrifice and the effort the bands do. And what I feel they do is “heroic.”

Meaning, if a fireman rushes into a burning building  and saves people, people call him a hero, but he will say, “I was only doing my job.” Though how great a job he does- it’s true. And if he didn’t do it, he might not be a fireman much longer.

But if I rush in and save folks, I would truly be a hero, it’s something I was not required to do.

And I’m not trying to say that the musicians I write about are as important as firemen, or save lives. But I am saying, they do a wonderful thing, create beautiful art without any monetary compensation. And to me they are truly, heroes or heroines.

What they create is actually priceless- couldn’t have a price tag, really.

And that’s what this band attempts, does and succeeds. What I think this band does with this album.

And that’s what I try to do with our reviews-

but I never quite get there.

(Slimedog)

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