Once upon a time in 1994, the Canadian radio station Z95.3 FM played a song…
The band was called FRONT & CENTRE and the audiences in and around Vancouver marvelled at the track, while one of the announcers on the station even said they did ERASURE better than ERASURE.
A couple of more songs followed, culminating in an EP which kept selling out, achieving the status of the fastest selling local indie CD in the history of Vancouver.
Fast forward a few years and Matt Danforth, the musical brains behind FRONT & CENTRE returns as MATTHIAS with his mini album called ‘Line In’.
The artist promises that “things are only about to begin”, as he reaches out to the United Nations of the Lovers of ERASURE. Having supported the most loveable duo of synthpopia, Danforth serves his own take on danceable pop, electronica way. Like the Sweden’s JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM, the talented Canadian isn’t concerned with being dubbed as “just another act sounding like ERASURE”.
For his comeback, the Vancouverite has united with Mark Bebb, the vocal half of the Welsh duo SHELTER. Also known for their ERASURE connections, SHELTER have gained popularity thanks to some catchy hooks and the electric stage presence from Bebb.
Indeed ‘Code’, recorded in the Sussex studio of Keith Trigwell from DEPECHE MODE tribute act SPEAK & SPELL and Northstone Studios in Wales with Jayce Lewis, is bustling with the abundance of marvellous synth pointers from Danforth, laced with effortless vocal masterdom from Bebb.
The interplay of the layered digital brilliance, married with warming, smile inducing lyrics and their delivery is endearing. Yes, it sounds like ERASURE, but it sounds like great ERASURE, and no doubt it will be received with open arms by those loving a good, old dose of synthpop at its best.
The remaining five tracks are instrumental, but continue the positive atmosphere and wonderfully scripted melodies.
‘Escape’ bursts with freshness and zestiness of spring, while the electronic paradise continues with ‘Ukko’. A more sedate, sentimental electronic ballad, it leads into a mysteriously named ‘Sensible Salad’. The expression allegedly comes from Danforth’s wife, advising him on the correct dietary choices. If the “salad” is a mix of everything and anything, this has it in bunches. Layered synth, interesting hooks, catchy turns, random twists… the true “electronic salad”… oh, and it’s got a choir too!
‘Standing By’ dazzles with mechanical simplicity and symmetrical use of synth trajectory, while the opus finishes with ‘Outliers’. A rather eclectic number bearing all the signs of the perfect cinematic experience, it shows off Danforth’s inspiration via the daddies of electronica JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, VINCE CLARKE and KRAFTWERK.
‘Line In’ is an important return for Danforth, who promises that the comeback is just the beginning for his musical deliveries. Let’s hope that is indeed so…
‘Line In’ is available from the usual digital outlets
Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
6th October 2017