Unfamiliar Faces - Matt Costa
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The California-born singer's follow-up to his 2006 record was produced by No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. With a plucky guitar, harmonica, piano, and sun-burnished vocals, Costa knows how to work gospel's euphoric uplift into secular music, though he follows the blueprints of his idol (a 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'-era Donovan) a tad too closely.
  2. His second album is braver and more expansive and, in the case of 'Cigarette Eyes,' surprisingly angry. He's getting near to brilliant. [Feb 2008, p.95]
  3. 76
    'Emergency Call,' with its Jerry Rafferty-esque hook, marks the highpoint of the album. But the ditties are offset by introspective ballads like 'Never Looking Back,' with its mournful melody, and 'Bound,' a song in which Matt gets his dander up and renounces a woman who’s wronged him.
  4. There’s no question Costa has progressed since his first EP. But as he ventures on his musical journey through the past, he might want to look at the albums of the 1960s icons he so admires and think about if their "progress" improved their music or diluted it.
  5. Certainly there's more to Costa than a one-man acoustical jam, even if his pleasure zone isn't far from the AM Gold dial.
  6. With such a young, singular talent, it’s a shame to hear him aping other styles when he clearly is full of a wealth of unexplored talent.
  7. Costa's sophomore album is every bit as anaemic as the Johnson connection suggests.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. LaurenceS.
    Feb 7, 2008
    Definite growth from his first album to his second, although he may want to watch out for similarities to other bands...both Filter and Mungo Jerry are represented here quite openly. Expand
  2. KevinB.
    Feb 24, 2008
    This is an album that grew on me. After the first time i listened to it I didn't really like it that much but after seeing him preform live i haven't been able to put it down. It's the type of album that gets better eveytime you listen to it. Expand
  3. NickD
    Feb 7, 2008
    Not as eclectic or interesting as his debut, this is still a pleasant set of songs with some toe-tapping highlights ("Mr. Pitiful", "Miss Magnolia", "Vienna", and "Never Looking Back" - the last of which sounds a lot like The Decemberists). To me it's a slight step backward but not exactly a misstep. Expand
  4. AllenM.
    Feb 24, 2008
    Just OK. It sounded a bit like Paul McCartney's newest. ("Memory Almost Full.")
  5. MM.
    Mar 1, 2008
    While I don't think it's quite as subpar as all the critics seem to feel, the album is missing something. Maybe it's Costa's inability to come across as anything but a copy cat songwriter: he's doing nothing original here whatsoever. That's not to say the album is completely devoid of any redeeming qualities: there are some decent pop tunes here. However, I don't feel I'll be coming back to this very often during the remainder of the year. Expand