Matt Van Schie 'Balmy Nights'
Available on ITunes...
In a lot of ways, Matt Van Schie's solo release 'Balmy Nights' sounds as if Brian Ferry kept a few tunes to himself while Roxy Music was creating 'Avalon' in the Bahamas in 1982. Coincidentally, Avalon Beach in Sydney's Northern Beaches provided the setting and the moments which Van Schie captures in 'Balmy Nights'. A short sabbatical from Modular act Van She allowed him a new creative freedom, and with his wanting lyrics, shoe-gazing delivery, the beach-time feel; it's almost a reincarnation of the songs which defined the times all those years ago, but not to be taken so seriously this time around.
Van Schie has been frugal with his first solo release, cutting down an album's worth of material to just four delectable electropop-styled love songs, leaving but a concentrated essence of his solo expression. First track 'Saturday Night' lets loose with a chorus riff ala some 80’s tune which you just can't put a finger on. Don't accuse him of sampling a retro chart hit, his etudes into the sounds of acts like Hall & Oates have manifested with a very convincing representation - this is 100% guitar and computer in the bedroom stuff.
'Journey' is a ballad that nods its head to the retro gods but has an immediacy and romanticism to it that would transcend any musical era. Van Schie has effectively channelled wrenching emotion into but a few simple lyrics and a combination of glorious synths, rhythmic guitars and epic drum machines. The summery music video by prodigious director Riley Blakeway captures the song's heat exceptionally well - before you know it you'll be doing air grabs and dreaming about hitting the beach with your squeeze.
As well as the production intricacies afforded to those with enough time to tinker on their laptops, Van Schie has paid particular attention to sculpting each song on more of a macro level too. 'Lady' has such a well-designed chorus melody that it dances its way up the scale in such a way that you can sing along with it before you even hear it, while his use of instrumentation pulls it back just before it hits the world of cheese. It marks his skills as a writer/producer. Last track 'Two Love' has more of a post-punk flavour and even a Psychedelic Furs-type feel to it. If you haven't started daydreaming of Molly Ringwald yet, this track would surely get you there.
With the 'Balmy Nights' four-pack under his arm and a swag of other newies to fill a live show, Matt Van Schie should win over a few fans while Australia's summer weather sets the perfect environment to perform these songs. Whilst he maintains that this project is about having fun and not being too serious, this EP displays a natural musicianship and production ability worthy of any solo artist on today's scene, such that if 'Balmy Nights' was coming out of Brooklyn he would probably already be enjoying international hype. Van Schie is an artist with creative vision and the talent to execute it, and such attention would be well-deserved.
Balmy Nights EP
Balmy Nights Re Lived
1.Saturday night (G.L.O.V.E.S. Remix)
2.Journey (Memory Tapes Version)
3.Lady (Hemingway's Beach Bossa Mix)
4.Two Love (Diamond Cut Mix)
5.Journey (teenagersintokyo Remix)
6.Journey (Danimals Remix)
7.Journey (Vinyl Version)