Monday, December 11, 2017

New Music Revue: Matt Mays delivers a great album in Once Upon a Hell of a Time

November 15, 2017 by Fred Cameron, contributing writer

Matt Mays
Once Upon a Hell of a Time
(Warner Music Canada)
4/5

It’s been five years since the release of Coyote—which won the 2014 Juno for Rock Album of the Year—and Halifax singer/songwriter Matt Mays has picked up right where he left off. His sixth studio release—and second solo effort—is a great album, full stop.

Once Upon a Hell of a Time offers a window into the life of Matt Mays. He takes us on a wild ride of poetic memoir, delving into love, loneliness, and loss—and the resulting self-medicating—all the while remaining true to his own style of rock, which is reminiscent of Matt Good and Joel Plaskett.

On first listen, the album seems to lack a radio hit like 2012’s “Take It on Faith,” but solid tracks littered throughout Once Upon a Hell of a Time will grow on the listener. The album has a complex, mid-’90s Canadian-rock sound, highlighted by the first single, “Faint of Heart,” and deep cuts like “Station Out of Range” and “Ola Volo.”

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