Lupe Fiasco (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) is an intelligent, unorthodox, anti-Establishment soul who parleyed his manifold talents rather nicely, in 2006 grabbing 3 Grammy nominations and in 2007 scoring big, #10 on Billboard's Hot 100, with Superstar, a surprise runaway hit. A good portion of the reason for that hit goes to singer-songwriter Matthew Santos, who is releasing his second disc for the CandyRat label, a new entry in that estimable venture's line of non-guitar-centered releases. Quickly Disappearing may well be the imprint's most fulsome CD yet, containing semi-orchestral, moody, swirling tracks like NVR LKD SO FIN and sparer folky cuts that nevertheless carry the echo of fuller arrangements.
Santos has come to the attention and endorsement of Eddie Vedder, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, and other big-timers; the reason for that is not difficult to locate. His singing wraps around a passionate soulfulness calling into repertoire a number of social and global issues as well as the expected takes on love and such. In Shallow Grave, keyboardist Matt Nelson fleshes out Santos' atmospherics, laying a New Orleans pub-organ beneath Aaron Dugan's cosmic guitar blaze (and it sounds like Nelson's using a Leslie as well) lifting the mid-section to the clouds. More than once during this CD, I was minded of Sipo's voice and irrepressible energy, though Santos isn't a progrocker.
Elements of the too-soon-forgotten Terence Trent Darby (now known as Sananda Maitreya) appear in Santos' work, a great thing 'cause Darby was a dynamic cat, a great hybridizer, and so is Santos, both urban soulsters from the word go, but fierily so, not quite carrying the old Al Green, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding up-from-the-heart-and-gut intensities but rather blended with more refinedly melodic refrains. Otis & Co. couldn't help but burn the house down, Santos wants to heat it up, dance, and proselytize to a newer urgency based in Humanist concerns. He's also pretty eclectic, unrestricted in his directions, and History of Ice might easily have appeared as one of the spacey instrumental interludes in OMD's Dazzle Ships.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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