By: Hilary Johnston June 25th, 2013
Not to be confused with that guy who wrote the Tim Horton’s song (name barely important), Matt Epp is another folky dripping with commercial potential. His latest album, Learning to Lose Control, is full of radio-friendly tunes that would surely appeal to an onslaught of wholesome teens.
Epp’s warm vocals come through thanks to Jamie Candiloro’s (Ryan Adams, REM, Willie Nelson) clean production. Regrettably, high quality audio production can’t make up for mundane songwriting that will ultimately leave the listener nodding off. It’s an unfortunate crux considering Epp’s evident skills when it comes to compositional variety. “Use Your Head” is seasoned with a little Flamenco flavour while “Take You Away” features some good ol’ country twang. Heck, there is even a duet with the always-lovely Serena Ryder. The opening track “Sleepwalking” is probably the edgiest offering. The chords show a little grit, which weaves well with the soulful vocals, hinting at a smidgen of excitment to an otherwise listless track-list.
Epp has some playing chops; I’ll grant him that. However, the fatal flaw to the album’s design is that nobody cares about technical abilities when your lyrics are as shoddy as “You can hold me / but you can’t hold me down” or “He’s just a main / a grain of sand / so take his hand” – I could go on. It isn’t merely intolerable, it’s embarrassing.
Learning to Lose Control is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and 100% drab.