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A warm, rich sound that immediately gives you a good vibe from the opening notes.  Thus, the first cut from Matt Costa’s recent Neon Brain E.P., “Easy Feeling” does just that.  Milky, liquid guitars and soft vocals have a neo-psychedelicness about it (thinking of the slower Rain Parade tracks I’ve loved over the years) and a strong classic-pop (think ’66/’67) sensibility.

Case and point, “Balboa Park” could easily have come blasting out of transistor radios at the tail end of the Summer Of Love, with its melody; “Echo In The Sea” has a certain Bookends quality with its finger picked electric guitar and exploding into a Hollies-like chorus (aside from some near-angelic harmonies towards the latter half of the track).  The title cut, “Neon Brain” is an acoustic-driven piece with (what sounds like synthesized) string arrangements, harmonies and a Donovan feel (although there were moments that recall Syd Barrett at his best); “Traveling Through Space” takes a different direction – while it has the classic pop sense, it’s far more experimental and modern sounding, but still has that ability to walk the fine line of being “out there” while still having a classic feel (think “Interstellar Overdrive” in places but with vocals) and “Seven Sins”, the E.P. closer, is a simple, very low-fi (demo quality) piece at the beginning – just double-tracked vocals, but builds to keyboards and banjo.  Clearly, a joyful marriage of sounds and classic styles in one place.

As it’s happened before, after hearing this excellent release, I now want to work my way backwards and hear the other releases from Matt Costa.  He’s definitely made me a fan.

Also included below is his newest release; a seasonal song/video track – hopefully this will help point you towards buying/dowloading Neon Brain.


Neon Brain is available now.

About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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