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Matt Jaffe hits his stride with Undertoad – picking up where David Bowie left off

After 8 good albums, Matt Jaffe produces a great one. He hits his stride

Matt Jaffe has hit his stride with  his latest album, Undertoad.  I have been following Jaffe since he was 14 and playing hugely good guitar at a house concert series in Northern California and have been waiting for this album since then.  At the age of 16 he was discovered by  Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and together  they produced his first album.  Seven good albums later, Undertoad has positioned him for the very big time. With 7 sophisticated songs that transcend  the boundaries of rock and create an urgent universe of their own.

 Undertoad opens with  “Broken Flowers” ,  a song that makes you sway, cry,  and think as its hypnotic guitar and his high-pitched but perfectly modulated voice carry you into a Leonard Cohen-like cinematic world, but with a rock beat.  Keeping up the energy in “Punch Drunk Love” Jaffe moves the pitch even higher, while staying smooth and addictive as he spins out a tale we all know. He stays in the deep emotional narrative mode with “Beacon in the Night”, using his unparallel songwriting, world-class guitar skills, and most urgent voice to hold you spiritually while you rock out to the notes. 

Slowing down and getting lighter, “Early Winner” tells a romance story – or is it — as he introduces you to a girl in a softly freezing winter.   He gets serious and yet magical at the same time  in “Strangers Again” – moving well into hard rock land with snarling  guitar walls, but always the lyrics take center stage. He then lets you come down in “Streets of Gold”, keeping a gentle electricity flowing through his guitar and your head. 

The album wraps with the hypnotic “Time Traveler”, released earlier as a single, and the song that for many, establishes Jaffe,  not as a latter day David Bowie, but as the  21st century artist who is picking up where Bowie left off.  Stunning, hypnotic, lovely and bloody sharp.

Undertoad, released 2021,  is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music and on Patrick O’Heffernan, host Music Sin Fronteras radio



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (428 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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