Album Review – Chapter Three by The Legal Matters (2021) (Futureman Records)
The Legal Matters are a union of singer songwriters consisting of well respected names such as Andy Reed, Keith Klingensmith, and Chris Richards. It could be that they are lifelong friends and I suppose if I was that way inclined, I would have trawled the recesses of google to establish the how/why/when etc.
However, I rarely do such things before a review, as I lprefer to form my own opinions about the ‘actual sound’, without being swayed by the thoughts of other reviews, the band’s history or what I perhaps ‘should be looking out for’.
As such, uncluttered by such possible intrusions, it is plain to hear that their is a warmth and naturality to Chapter Three and indeed their previous two albums (their eponymous debut of 2014 and Conrad of 2016), that gives the feeling that this band thrive on complete comfortability as a group or perhaps even some sort of precious innate understanding, that only really exists by unlimited practice or by the complete, unusual happenchance, that very occasionally results in a genuine natural affinity. I always plump for the latter, as I am a romantic old soul.
This sense of easy warmth is best seen in Light Up The Sky, Don’t Read Between The Lines and Makes Things Up. Here the great modern power-pop voices that are given vehicles of expression in acts such as The Orange Peels, Teenage Fanclub and Dropkick, act as a foundation upon which sumptuous melodies and harmonies are layered with seemingly no effort. Its perfect laconic power-pop, which is never afraid to cherry pick from the best of classic rock, to add a bit of extra guitar expression.
Of course we could just add this act to the above list of greats and walk away safe in the knowledge that they are succeeding in augmenting a very special part of our collections. However, The Legal Matters are more than that, as there is a playfulness that visits the other musical nuances, that are plainly dear to them.
As such we see The Painter, Pain and You Sure Can’t Blame Her drop the tempo, accentuate the piano and slide seamlessly into perfect 70’s pop machinations, whereas crunchy, hazy psyche rock is visited in That’s All and 60s melodies galore and psyche-pop weirdness are juxtaposed in A Memory of Sound.
It has been five years since the last The Legal Matters full length and this release just serves to remind us that such a hiatus is too long ! Grab a wonderful slice of vinyl, from the always essential Futureman Records, here.