Album Review: One Matt Bayer – Off Sunset

Hailing from Los Angeles, USA, Matt Beyer is an acoustic singer songwriter who takes on the concept of drastic changes in his new album Off Sunset.

By Graeme Smith

Feature photo by McCabe Slye

Just as sunset marks the boundary between day and night, Off Sunset occupies this space. At once bright and yet dark, the scene is set by opening track Today Was Nice. Matt’s vocals are wonderfully smooth, akin in delivery to Bon Iver but with lower tones. It intermingles with ambient, captured sound and gentle acoustic guitar to create a warm, welcoming world that’s steeped in nostalgia.

It flows seamlessly into the piano-led Hillsides. An experimental tapestry of instrumentals that somehow all seem to be playing their own melodies by gelling together beautifully. Matt’s vocals act as the anchor, telling a tale that is full of imagery and a sense of place. It’s all so wonderfully laid back.

Chagall comes next, a rich and complex love song with playful piano and soaring harmonies. As well as being about transformations, Matt also explores his hometown in this album and its idyllic views. That certainly comes across in Chagall.

I Still I Still strips things back as the album enters its mid-section, leading onto Lily Demo, a gentle collaboration with angelic singer Lily Williams. A bizarre tale that goes along with this album is that it isn’t actually the finished product that Matt had hoped for. His computer was stolen so he had to go with the nearly finished versions of the tracks. Interestingly, he was able to track down the culprit and ended up chasing their car down a street off Sunset Blvd., ironic given the album’s title.

The short, dreamy Spanish language interlude Todos Nadando comes next, followed by the intimate and bright acoustic guitar-driven Love Sun. Nightwave provides the contrast, conjuring up the image of lonesome dark through bass notes and twinkling keys that act as stars.

It’s Coming Together has a sense of the timeless, drawing on a classic piano melody and soulful vocal harmonies. Making use of loud/quiet contrasts, it builds to textured and emotive crescendo halfway through. The album is then put to bed by Tigertail. For his final tale, Matt puts aside the acoustic instrumentals in favour of keys and vocal effects. It’s powerful stuff.

In Off Sunset, Matt has put together a collection of atmospheric and poignant tracks that feel both relatable and experimental. That’s quite the feat. If you’re looking for something to chill with today, check out Off Sunset below.