With life changing experiences, come the chance to reinvent and emerge with New Skin. With the release of his seventh studio album, Scott Matthews finds himself inhabiting new musical lands, a new state of mind, hence the album title. As with many others, Covid-19 was the catalyst. Unable to tour or collaborate with musicians, he had only his own head space in which to operate. And so, he created an album that moves away from acoustic to electronic music that straddles the divide to acoustic sounds.
The title track leads off, immediately stating Scott’s intent to creatively innovate a new sound. The electronic beat and synths are present but, matched with the acoustic sounding vocals and instrumentation, have a sparse warmth that feels like acoustic blended with a bit of electronics, rather than the other way around. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. ‘New Skin‘ has a slight melancholic air that is saved by the emotional intelligence of the lyrics. Song writing at it’s best sums up the writer’s intent in as few words as possible, as seen in this song:
Take some time to break in the life on new skin
Moving onto ‘Wait In The Car‘, and the electronic touch is this time interwoven with Springsteen-like drums that open the track with a bang. Cleverly, this wrongfoots the listener and shows Scott’s versatility at the same time, bringing in indie rock where the acoustic-electronic hybrid was before. ‘Anniversary‘ is out of the same mould, a gentle love song that speaks of the peace and tranquillity of a couple celebrating.
A musician on his seventh studio album and exploring a new sound for himself has the time and perhaps is in the mood to, as Scott says, “explore an idea that was always written in bold on my ‘to do’ list – a world of organic samples, programmed beats, grainy synthesisers, electric baritone guitar has always fascinated me. It was like discovering the ’80s for the first time. The further away from the 80s I get, the more appreciation I have for it in a musical sense.” And so we have ‘My Selfless Moon‘, a song written at the beginning of Scott’s career but didn’t fit with anything until now – it’s a perfect 80’s style power ballad, albeit stripped down in Scott Matthews style. ‘Morning‘ is another in the same vein and is just as good. 80’s influences have been making waves for a while and for a very good reason – these sounds, done right, are fabulous.
The electronic / indie mix returns in ‘Our Time‘, increasing in tempo throughout so that we end with pure, up tempo electronic music overlaid with shimmering vocals. An exploration of time and what makes the perfect time, again Scott revels in his ability to shed light in simple lyrics:
This time will never be erased, hold my hand in this perfect place
New Skin is an album of many parts, an infusion of sounds and ideas that come together as one – it’s close to being a perfect place.
Scott’s advice for aspiring musicians comes from the heart:
“My advice for any aspiring musician is a resonating quote from Oscar Wilde in which he writes, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. These words speak clearly to me and they should be your mantra as you start your journey in the search for yourself. We’re all completely unique and while it’s important to be inspired, it’s equally important that we can inspire somebody else too. Music is a highly powerful emotion and when the listener can hear your truth then you will go some way in achieving your goals as an artist”.
Catch Scott ON TOUR (socially distanced outdoors and then from October 2021 through to February 2022). Or if you can’t make it, follow him at: