Analogue Music | Matthew Good - Moving Walls
Matthew Good: Moving Walls

Matthew Good: Moving Walls

Artist: Matthew Good · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

21 February, 2020

Twenty-five years in, Matthew Good has crafted his masterpiece.

In the nearly 20 solo years since the alt-rock outfit that featured his name disbanded in 2001, Matthew Good has bore the cross of the under-appreciated artist. The Canadian singer-songwriter has faithfully adhered to the musical cycle he's supposed to follow—to write and record, release and tour—with eight previous solo releases (along with several other projects) to date, yet fame has been slow to follow despite consistent critical praise and a fervent core following.

It's uncertain whether Moving Walls will arrest the attention of the masses, but it's the most convincing literature yet for his fan base to distribute with hopes for the glow of shared admiration. Good is both musical prophet and pastor on Moving Walls, delivering seething social commentary on one track only to offer a shoulder to listeners on the next. The entire affair feels deeply personal, an inspired series of ruminations from such a seasoned artist. This sort of release requires a long obedience to the craft—the heart used to such expression, the mind tuned in to the lyrical turn, the filter always on for the sake of the next cycle.

It's a simultaneous shake of the fist and the head, a combination to which we're all accustomed these days.

Album opener "One Of Them Years" is a signal fire of the brilliance to come, a sonic simmering on the state of the world that sounds like a tune Glen Hansard has always wanted to write but hasn't. It's a simultaneous shake of the fist and the head, a combination to which we're all accustomed these days.

Nobody likes your headscarf
But they wear masks in the resistance
Either way forget the answers
Since we’ve perfected pointing fingers
And ya, it’s been one of them years

These years might seem bleak, but Good is never one to hang his lyrical head. On "Beauty," it's clear he's ever-searching for the light, and he delights in uncovering it even in unexpected places.

There’s beauty in creation
As there’s beauty in its loss
There’s beauty in the sinner
Before and after he got lost
And I keep on movin'

This thematic juxtaposition is at work within much of Good's catalog, but here the insights feel sharper than ever. And it's hardly just the messages here that demand closer attention; Good has actually made such a lovely listen that we're content to come back again for the whole package. The string work on 'Boobytrapped," the emotional build of "Thorn Birds," the brisk energy of "Sicily"—it's all part of a beautiful 15-song package worthy of repeated listens.

One of Moving Walls' most intriguing parts is the first French song in Good's canon: "Lumière Noire". It's translated as "black light," and the song's package echoes well Good's broader work. Moving Walls provides a guiding glow even as it notes the dark and the ongoing work of translation provides a great reward for those willing to engage this brilliant masterwork.