April 3, 2008

Test Spin: Matthew Santos

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As a Crow Flies is a potent collection of folk rock songs from singer-songwriter Matthew Santos, best known as the vocal accompaniment to Lupe Fiasco on the rapper’s hit single, “Superstar,” from earlier this year. The six-track EP, released last year, is as impressive for Santos’ out-of-this-world voice as it is for the unwavering consistency of the songs and its abundance of soul.
On the track, “Shadows in a Shoebox,” he shows incredible range, hitting notes so high they could shatter glass, and even reviving the lost art of scatting. On “O’ Montreal,” heavy drum beats and a soulful organ enunciate Santos’ powerful provocations as he asks, “Why is it I have something to prove every time I’m lying with you?” Across all six songs, Santos’ smokey voice and sharp, pointed lyrics help shape a mesmerizing, if brief, listening experience. This is an artist to watch very closely in the coming years, because even if he doesn’t hit the big time, he’s certain to build an impressive catalogue of material. Keep your eyes, and your ears, open. (As a Crow Flies is available on iTunes Music Store.)