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New Music: Matthew and the Atlas

January 27, 2016

MusicReview | by Sophia Miles

If you went back some five years, there was a definite revival of contemporary folk music in the British music industry, and while it may pain me partially to credit this to them, the likes of Mumford & Sons brought this musical styling to the attention of many who might not have otherwise developed or had an awareness of it. Alongside them were your Laura Marlings and Noah & the Whales, and from across the waters came the likes of critical darling Bon Iver. To see the legacy of that initial burst now, especially in the mainstream consciousness of this country, is to see that it was only a fad for most people.

Matthew and the Atlas

What gives those who have a genuine passion for this genre a continued interest then is the creation of material such as Matthew and the Atlas ’ new single, Elijah, as it shows that there is far more intricacy and beauty to this scene than most could have guessed. There’s a sense of familial pride when you come across releases like this, as it feels like one of your own have achieved something great, and in spite of the fact that not everyone will come to know it, you do and that is good enough.

A fragile song that is engaging and emotional, it is a perfect composition of what makes modern folk so attractive to those who follow it with a devout curiousity – their rendition for the esteemed Mahogany Sessions channel on YouTube comes highly recommended.

Furthermore this is proof, to those who might need it, that the contemporary British contributions in this field are as good as any by their American counterparts who have seemed to dominate the interest of conventional musical media. As previously mentioned though, that is not as much of a pain point for those of us who enjoy this style as one might expect or see with other genres.

For all this talk of British folk being under the radar, Elijah is a track that deserves – and undoubtedly will – catch the attention of a great many people who might not be overly familiar with Matthew and the Atlas. If this is their marker to be thrown down at the start of the year, then suffice to say 2016 shows great promise for the quartet.


Words by Sion Ford