Reviews

'Suburban Incubation' review

Welsh musician Matt Williams (The Brigadier) once gain showers us with melodic pop-rock full of intricate chord changes and lighter than air melodies. He starts with the up tempo “It Needed to be Sunny” chock full of fuzz guitar goodness. The pastoral compositions are still here, “Don’t Want To Think Anymore” and “Little Boba” are perfect for a lazy Sunday in the park. Some of the songs stick to the theme of getting older, from the insecurities of the love song “Do You Want Me Too?” to the look back at “The Middle Ages.” The Brigadier continues to dazzle us with the excellent “Music Makes The Pain Go Away.” Is there anything else more truthful? Highly Recommended.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2013/09/schnauser.html

'Suburban Incubation' review

It seems like I've been writing about The Brigadier (a/k/a Matt Williams) since I started this blog seven years ago, and he's back with his sixth album after a little longer interval (his last full-length came out in 2010). Suburban Incubation finds Williams having started a family, and the overall theme here is settling into that kind of life. He still offers the Beach Boys-meets-XTC sunny British pop of previous releases, as "It Needed to Be Sunny" is a bright opener, while "Don't Want to Think Anymore" is an introspective number that has a memorable hook and an Andy Partridge feel to it. Elsewhere, "Do You Want Me Too?" is a breezy slice of power pop right in Williams' wheelhouse, and the quirky piano fills and guitar of "Music Makes the Pain Go Away" make it one of the album's standouts while "The Middle Ages" is a jaunty, Brian Wilson-style tune. It's good to have The Brigadier back.

http://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/two-for-thursday-91913.html

'Holiday Special' review

'Holiday Special' review

Once again Matt Williams returns with his latest seasonal themed EP. “When The Sun Comes Out” is a sweet summer song with jangle filled melody, rock riffs and multi-tracked chorus. Once more Matt’s soft vocal plays to the narrative strengths in “Swansong” with a thick reverb guitar.  On the sparse, but brilliant “A Holiday Romance” it’s both corny and compelling, you picture a resort-romance montage. “Ogmore-by-Sea” is an jaunty surf-styled guitar tune and “Time To Go Home” wraps up the theme in a neat bow. The subtle orchestral touches make the melody display the dichotomy of wanting to stay on holiday and being drawn home, it plays like a Moody Blues meets Aztec Camera epic. Overall, this Brigadier EP is reliable casual fun.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2011/06/brigadier-bryan-estepa.html

'Holiday Special' review

Our old friend Matt Williams, aka The Brigadier is back with another EP in his seasonal series. This one celebrates summer and is called “Holiday Special”. Things couldn’t start off better than with the beautiful sunny side up spirit of “When The Sun Comes Out”, which contains just enough crunch in the guitar to give the brilliant harmonies a nice little kick. Not only my favorite off this EP, but one of my favorite Brigadier songs. “Swansong” is a pleasantly melancholy goodbye tune while “A Holiday Romance” is a cute island-flavored song. “Ogmore-by-Sea” is an interesting mix of surf and country guitar. Like holidays, all good things must come to an end, and the Brigadier departs for now with an epic, extravagant ballad entitled “Time To Go Home”. Among his most ambitious tunes, “Time To Go Home” oscillates between breezy orchestration and rocking fuzzy guitar breaks. Definitely a few tracks on here going onto my summer playlist.

'The Secret of no Success' review

The power pop concept album about life in an office isn't exactly a novel concept as recent releases from Greg Pope's Edmund's Crown, Owen Sartori and Semion have demonstrated, but in our world the tune comes first. And Matt Williams (a/k/a The Brigadier) puts a tuneful spin on the topic with his latest opus, nowhere more evident than in the jaunty opening track "Doing the 9 to 5", which sees Williams moving away from the Brian Wilson-via-XTC sound of his previous releases into something more along the lines of Badly Drawn Boy. Other standouts include the irresistible (and rocking, as far as Williams goes) "Just a Little Kiss Miss Busy", the George Harrison-inspired title track, and the catchy "Money is the Motivator". His previous releases have been consistent, but here the highs are higher (especially the tracks mentioned here), making this the best Brigadier yet.

http://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/two-for-tuesday-112310.html

'The Secret of no Success' review

On his fourth full length collection, The Brigadier (Matt Williams) turns his attentions to the world of work, crafting a suite of songs that encompass different aspects of the daily grind - commuting, job interviews, call centres, CVs, resignations etc. As usual the musical styles cover many genres - rock, electro-pop, orchestral, 60's pop, ballads, power-pop - all together a witthy and intriguing collection. "No one does English pop quite like The Brigadier. His latest is both light hearted and whimsical. The 10cc meets Aztec Camera inspired 'Doing The 9 to 5' is a bouncy romp that wouldn't sound out of place as a theme for a musical about 'The Office'. It goes through the day, from the commute 'On The Bus' and the rocking 'Just A Little Kiss Miss Busy' is a real standout track, with a signature riff and casual flirt approach. Plenty of great soul searching lyrics are found in the wonderful 'Middle Management' where it focuses on the hopes and dreams of the boss, with a blistering guitar break and dreamy background harmonies. Comparisons with Pugwash and XTC are easy to hear in the weaving vocals of 'C.V.' and hook-filled guitar strums of the title track. The guitar and synth play on 'Let Me Impress You' is impressive, as the smooth vocal work here. It ends on another pop gem 'A Better Day' which tells the listener 'sweet relief will come.' This is his best album since 'The Rise and Fall Of Responsibility' and there is more than enough here to recommend." - Powerpopaholic,.com "Wow! Not only has the Brigadier been working on his guitar chops, it sounds like he got a wah-wah pedal for his birthday, which gives opening track 'Doing the 9 to 5' some new texture and drive to his typical home-school production. Other early tracks also have a bit more of an edge to them than we’re usual from our mate Matt, and we like it! Rest assured, though, that the new album still contains plenty of the breezy, Music Hall-like charm we’ve come to know and love from this fine fellow! – Baron Saturday EXCELLENT!!!

https://hs69.order-vault.net/koolkatmusik.com/cgi-bin/mivavm/mm5/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=31574f82719679b15d4ee7b5a2595792&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=The_Brigadier_5

'The Secret of no Success' review

Loyal readers will know we’ve been a fan of The Brigadier since day one (see reviews here). The Brigadier is Welsh born singer, songwriter, and producer Matt Williams, who has been receiving much acclaim for his intimate live shows and timeless pop. Influenced by all sorts of popular music past and present, he writes melodic pop rock with intricate chord changes and catchy choruses.

“The Secret Of No Success” is the fourth full-length record released by The Brigadier since 2007, not to mention his numerous seasonal EPs. This time out The Brigadier turns his attention to another topic most of us can relate to (except Charlie Sheen): the world of work. While in the States right now any job is a good job, The Brigadier focuses on the ins and outs of the 9 to 5 grind, creating what amounts to a concept album that climbs the steps of the career ladder. He covers everything from resumes to interviews, commuting to resignations, office life and the weekend break. As one would expect, his stories about career culture are set to music that runs the gamut of pop, incorporating 70s bubblegum, classic 60s pop, baroque, and indie pop all into one.

The songs are listed on the back in the form of a flow chart, consistent with the theme of this thoughtful record. The Brigadier wakes us up with “Doing The 9 To 5”, which begins the same way so many of us begin our day. “Just A Little Kiss Miss Busy” is another upbeat guitar-driven slice of pop heaven, and The Brigadier’s wry sense of humor (along with one of the catchiest Beach Boys-inspired choruses on the record) makes “Back In The Office Again” a winner. The 80s new wave spirit that permeates “Dreaming Of The Weekend” makes it a nostalgic treat. “Middle Management” is another brilliant satirical look at corporate mentality, a sweeping ballad with beautifully melancholy music. The title track and “A Better Day” are additional highlights you shouldn’t miss.

With so many catchy melodies and enjoyable harmonies, “The Secret Of No Success” may just be the ticket to success for The Brigadier.

'The Secret of no Success' review

We already told you about The Brigadier, from UK. What to say about the man behind that project? Matthew Williams is simply the best kept living pop secret in the world, and the real mystery on his music is not due to his real persona hidden behind a room in Albion but how such a talented music genius is not meant to rule the chart.

Maybe we have to blame nowadays music system, MTV, the lack or change of taste of the young generation. Possibly the World that we are living is made for the eyes and not the ears, caring only about the latest noisy monotone trend rather than appreciating a cleaver touchy melody. Or maybe that’s Matthew’ “Secret of no success”.

I admired the talent of the young Matthew Williams since his early moves on the über- indie-scene, and I was really pleased that his previous album - “Time is a Wound” – was such a step forward in a more complex and appealing approach to his music. “Secret of no success” carries on on that direction with the ambition of shaping the whole music experience in the common theme of struggling for modern times daily jobs.

Moreover the album see the tracks of The Brigadier last work tweening one and another just like the passing time on the routine of an average working day, bringing us closer to the whole experience.

Album obviously starts with “Doing the 9 to 5″ along with a real suggestive and appealing dreamy-synth introduction. The wakey-wakey sound of the clock suddenly bring us back to reality with the happy sound of our modern time anti-hero, with a catchy old-fashion tune notable for its almost-ska clean guitar (I’m thinking of Casino Royale’s “Mr. Spock never met Mr. Space” or Couch Potatoes “Kiss Me Quick”) and changes of tempos reminding me of Gilbert O’Sullivan most clever tunes. The rest of the song would surely be an hit if only we had Robbie instead of Matthew signing the record. Choirs have become almost an hight quality standard for each new song of The Brigadier, so it’s useless to say they’re quite close to perfection in each of the tracks’ you’re gonna hear on this album. Guitar and arrangements are almost faultless as well, especially on this track.

“It’s not that it’s hart, it’s just so boring…”, “Back in the office again” is one of those delicate easy listening tracks confuting the fact that The Brigadier is ready to succeed Louis Philippe in mastering pop matters in such sophisticated elegant ways and turning its essence into music dreams. “Dreaming of the Weekend” is one of my favourite not only since Friday is the most awaited day of every one of us and the most loved songs of the last 5 decades are dealing with having parties and girls instead of werking… but it has been my wake-up call for almost a month! The song blends disco items (was The Brigadier U.N.DISCO appearance relevant on this?) to soft lovely lullabies patches.

The album closes with “A better day”, a happy end after hero’s resignation from his troubled routine at work. A positive ending everyone should sympathize with on the difficult moment we’re all living.

Your better day starts now.

http://www.sleepwalkingmag.com/2010/11/16/the-brigadier-at-work/

'The Secret of no Success' review

No one does English pop quite like The Brigadier (aka Matt Williams). I’ve touted his albums before, but his latest effort The Secret Of No Success is one of most light hearted and whimsical. The theme is job seeking, and the 10cc meets Aztec Camera inspired “Doing The 9 to 5″ is a bouncy romp that wouldn’t sound out of place as a theme for a musical about The Office. It goes through the day, from the commute “On The Bus” and the rocking “Just A Little Kiss Miss Busy” is a real standout track, with a signature riff and casual flirt approach. Plenty of great soul searching lyrics are found in the wonderful “Middle Management” where it focuses on the hopes and dreams of the boss, with a blistering guitar break and dreamy background harmonies.

Comparisons with Pugwash and XTC are easy to hear in the weaving vocals of “C.V” and hook-filled guitar strums of the title track. The guitar and synth play on “Let Me Impress You” is impressive, as the smooth vocal work here. It ends on another pop gem “A Better Day” which tells the listener “sweet relief will come.” This is the best Brigadier album since The Rise and Fall Of Responsibility and there is more than enough here to recommend.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2010/11/brigadier-secret-of-no-success.html

'The Edge of Spring' review

Have have enjoyed the music of Matt Williams aka The Brigadier for quiet a while now, and after his last album we find him stretching his songwriting legs with a seasonal theme. It opens quietly with “Song for a New Year” which strums along and builds to a sweet melodic chorus. “Be my Valentine” and “February” have a Ray Davies styled cynicism and dry wit to them. The four minute mostly instrumental “Last Day of Winter” has a magical quality and then “She brings the Spring” is very much in the light pop mold of The Orange Peels. Part of this cycle began with “Rhymes for Rainy Days (Autumn)”. I would encourage Matt to finish the cycle on his next offering (Summer). This EP is only offered digitally from Matt’s site.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2010/02/baby-scream-brigadier-ep.html

'Time is a wound' review

The prolific Matt Williams (known to you and me as The Brigadier) is back with a new full-length, and Time is a Wound follows in the footsteps of last year's The Rise & Fall of Responsbility. Williams serves up another quality slice of pastoral pop, the kind of Brian-Wilson-with-an-English-sensibility in the vein of Andy Partridge and The Milk & Honey Band. Highlights include the upbeat opener "I'm Gonna Make You Mine Missy", which throws a bit of Northern Soul into the mix, the jaunty "Oh, Paddington", and the dreamy "Something Good". Not pastoral at all is "Why Don't You Love Me?", which throws in synths and a somewhat funky beat. You won't get that from Andy Partridge.

http://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/two-for-thursday-10109.html

'Time is a wound' review

The third album from The Brigadier (Matt Williams) continues to showcase his extensive gift of music and melodies. It opens with the impressive and catchy “I’m gonna make you mine Missy” which combines a cutting lead guitar and Beach Boys backing harmonies. This is a bona fide classic track that shouldn’t be missed. Next, “Oh Paddington” is another magical melody with slight psychedelic overtones and a bit like a lost Klaatu track. Slowly, the album gets funkier beats in “Why don’t you love me?” – with very 70’s style syths and a whispering lead that beckons the listener. Much of the gentle almost narrative Roger Waters-meets-McCartney style comes across on tracks in the albums middle. Both “Traditional love songs” and “Ode to Escape” will hold your interest till the very Queen-meets-Moody Blues flavored “Time is a Wound.” The guitar work is excellent, but often a supporting player here as the mood and intricate harmonies lead the song. It’s my favorite on the disc, too. The songs gradually get both delicate and precious with the melodies and themes, like “Something Good” has a baroque current running through it. This tendency eventually leads us to the Kinks-like burlesque of “Jobseeker” and “(I Like) The Look Of You” with light harpsichord and do-wop chorus. The utterly gorgeous finale of “The Insomnia” is a Brian Wilson/Wondermints aria that tells us the author is begging all his active thoughts to stop and let him sleep. This is the kind of release that will keep smart pop fans up late nights, playing The Brigadier over and over again.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2009/09/brigadier-time-wound.html

'Time is a wound' review

Loyal readers of this blog know our fondness for The Brigadier, the UK-based pop singer/songwriter also known as Matt Williams. Following a string of impressive releases of indie Brit-pop, The Brigadier is back already with his third full-length record, bringing more infectious melodies and harmonies into the world.

The thing that stands out for me the most on "Time Is A Wound" is that The Brigadier can rock! This time out, Williams is more liberal than ever with the electric guitar, which really works on some of these tracks and takes them to a whole new level. You'll notice this right away with the rambunctious opener, "I’m Gonna Make You Mine Missy", which is my favorite track on the CD. The rocking guitar is a refreshing twist on his usual formula of gentle and sweet indie pop. But long-time fans need not worry...there is plenty of the typical Brigadier sound to be found on his latest effort. Even in the rocking "I’m Gonna Make You Mine Missy", there are still his trademark harmonies, hand claps, catchy melodies, and sunny keys.

A strong suit of "Time Is A Wound" is the mix of jubilant pop rock with moody atmospheric pieces. Yet, despite this diversity, every tune remains wholly recognizable as a Brigadier song. For instance, "Why Don't You Love Me" is rich with elements from 70s pop funk and R&B, but the ELO-like harmonies bring it all home to Brigadier territory. The record is not without its quiet, reflective moments, such as the harpsichord enhanced "Wrong By You" and "The Insomnia", as well as the haunting "Watch Me Cry".

In addition to the outstanding "I’m Gonna Make You Mine Missy", I'd highlight the bouncy piano-driven number, "Oh, Paddington", the McCartney-esque "Traditional Lovesong", and acoustic driven (and aptly titled) "Something Good". You also have to check out the lyrically interesting title track, with lines such as "Time heals all wounds...that ain't true when time is the wound". Bringing in rock, pop, folk, this track is another example showcasing the extraordinarily diverse musical talents of Matt Williams...long live The Brigadier!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

'Time is a wound' review

One of our favorites returns with a brand new release! After the success of his first two albums ("View from the Bath" and "The Rise and Fall of Responsibility") the UK based Brigadier (Matt Williams) has continued his layered one man band approach by making a classic pop record. The songs primarily have love themes but each with it's own flavor and unique take on the subject. Musically the record dips into many places from sunshine Power-pop to Electro funk to Rockabilly to Ambient and beyond but each containing the Brigadier signature of great melody above everything else - the way it should be! "Somebody must have dosed The Brigadier’s cuppa tea with wild honey, ‘cause on album three, he socks it to us! On 'I’m Gonna Make You Mine, Missy', 'Time Is A Wound' and 'Something Good,' it sounds like he’s tapping into the Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson with his sweet, lightly soulful vocals and accompaniment that rocks a bit more than on his previous discs. Then again, 'The Insomnia' sounds like brother Brian at his dreamiest! Elsewhere, he steps out of his comfort zone on 'Purnell’s Farm,' a steel guitar-laced instrumental hoedown. And 'I Like The Look of You' could have been a hit for Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires. But never fear: as breezy toe-tappers like 'Oh, Paddington' and 'Job Seeker' make clear, The Brigadier remains as quintessentially and charmingly English as ever. Another corker from Kool Kat’s buddy from Brighton (now Devon)!" - Baron Saturday

http://64.33.80.122/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=KKM&Product_Code=The_Brigadier_1&Category_Code=

'Time is a wound' review

“And whats wrong with that? ” ~ Paul McCartney

What surprises me the most of the über active Matt Williams - in arte “The Brigadier” - is the astonishing quality of his music and his unexplicable condition of not-for-the-masses related music in the UK top-of-the-pop scenario. It’s really quite discouraging for anyone doing music seeing an artist like “The Brigadier” (or “Semble”, even “Santa Dog”, to bring some other random name in) not being spotted out by media for their talent and musical potential. It’s quite like having to throw an eye on a junkyard for a Ferrari when you expect to see it in a museum in Maranello.

The problem is… that Matt is even getting better, and his third album (third in three years, crazy) is on the front-line of pop attitude and cleaver writings. Very impressive results when we’re dealing with catchy and never predictable (still traditional) tracks when every single note you’ll hear is played… just by Matt himself!

“Time is a Wound” opens with the rocky “I’m gonna make you mine Missy”, gathering in few seconds of opening all my favourite musical references at once: Faces’ edgy guitars, Beach Boys choirs (still not so forgone as anybody would have been tempted to do) and a powerful clear lead vocal havin’ Matt reaching McCartneyan standards like never before. For a fan it’s quite a shiver!

What I like the most of this third album is the overall sense of “happy sadness” pervading each musical creation, with smooth changing of mood leaving the album pleasurable unpredictable with the end, like coloured sides of an enchanting kaleidoscope. “Oh, Paddington”, the next track, it’s clearly a sudden proof of that, with quick changes of mood, melancholy and still a thrilling Beatlesque guitar groove. Talking of groove it’s time for “Why don’t you love me?”, almost a 70’s police show theme with quirky vocals yet again not so predictable, with traces of Queen and Lennon on the go. “Wrong by you” is a sweet lullaby more related to the previous albums, where The Brigadier returns (yet again, with a cleaver eye on the whole album perception) back to basic, with an harpsichord crescendo soon sustained by a smooth choir à-la-letitbe. “Traditional love songs” panders a bit too much to “traditional listeners” and people with diabetes problems, still - hey! - didn’t Wings made an hit from “Silly Love Songs”? “Ode to Escape” it’s a delicate elegy dressed in such elegant clothes that makes a crime addressing to it with the epithet of pop song. “Purnells farm” it’s the “Sgt. Pepper” moment of the album, so happy and nice I left it for a month as wake-up call on my mobile. “Time is a wound” and “Something good” would have found their place on a Queen album for sure (the good old ones), while I think most of the people will sympathize with cabaret-oriented track “Jobseeker” (with yet astonishingchoirs) and the touching masterpiece “The Insomnia”, very close indeed to the twin track “Watch me cry”. The Braoque “(I like) The look of you” mix Raffaele Gervasio minuettos with most traditional rock’n'roll guitars, and it would probably raise a smirk of approval on Jeff Lynne on a casual listening.

In the end, after three glorious indie productions, it’s quite a shame having “Paul McCartney” and “Gilbert O’Sullivan” originals on my music collection and not “The Brigadier”. What’s wrong with modern music business cabalistic system? Probably NME has killed more than an employee on the good taste department. God only knows

http://www.sleepwalkingmag.com/2009/08/16/the-brigadier-time-is-a-wound/

'Rhymes for Rainy Days' review

The Fall is my favorite time of year, and giving me one more reason to celebrate it is The Brigadier, who has just released a seasonal EP inspired by autumn. "Rhymes for Rainy Days" follows his noteworthy full-length release, "The Rise and Fall of Responsibility", reviewed here not long ago.

On "Rhymes for Rainy Days", The Brigadier (a.k.a. Matt Williams), offers more of a retro pop feast for our ears. This is most noticeable on the lead off track, "To Go On Holiday", my instant favorite among the 6 tunes on the EP. The subtle disco beat underneath the classic oohs and aahs in the harmony vocals gives this track an extra boost that makes you nod and tap your foot right along. Other tracks, including "No One's Ever Here To See" and "The Same Old Sunday", are more solemn and reflective, nice mediation pieces to accompany the Fall. We venture into carnival territory with the brief instrumental tune, "Guy Fawkes", and what is the Fall without a carnival? I really like the addition of acoustic guitar on tracks like "The Same Old Sunday" and "What Happened To The Autumn?" - they sound kind of like The Byrds, perhaps flying south for the winter. We end on another acoustic-driven piece, the gentle lullaby, "As The Nights Draw In".

Fans of The Brigadier won't want to miss this one. Matt continues to evolve as a songwriter and performer, and this EP serves as a great introduction to his style of 60s and 70s-influenced pop with a modern twist. Also be sure to check out his other seasonal offering, the holiday inspired, "6 Christmas Tales". Both are available by following the links below.

'Rhymes for Rainy Days' review

Often artists come up with seasonal discs and The Brigadier is one of them. After the dazzling full length album this past May, we have two audio goodies to listen to. “Rhymes for Rainy Days” is group of reflective and fun songs about Autumn.  Opening with “To go on Holiday” it combines a 10cc sense of jovial cheer to the rhythmic synths, where he wants to “…get away from all the British people.” It provides some autumn chuckles. “Guy Fawkes” is whimsical instrumental that leads us to the somber “The Same Old Sunday,” sung in a near whisper.  The very pastoral imagery and cool vocal of “What happened to Autumn?” combines the provincial XTC sound with Lou Reed’s “Wild Side.” The other songs are quiet reflections (“No One’s Ever Here”) and don’t have as much punch, but are highly compelling to listen to.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2008/10/brigadier-rhymes-for-rainy-days-ep-more.html

'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' review

Recently I had the chance to listen to “The Rise and Fall of Responsibility”, the second complete music work by the London based Matt Williams , aka The Brigadier. With melodies as “The Melancholy Days” and “This is why” it’s easy to say that “The Rise and Fall of Responsibility” is a bitter joyful journey in the brightest side of the history of music at its best. Guitars, keyboards, drums, fine melodyes and tender clever lyrics complete a totally grown work. The Brigadiers surely know how to move in the construction of an album, and “The Rise and Fall” seems like the tenth release from an old friend with full self confindence on his skills and potentials.


Not only the brightest side of the game. “The Rise and Fall” explore all the range of emotions, diggin out darker moments in songs like the Lennonesque “Envy”, with echoes of Stereolab, Todd Rundgren and Devics. Did I mentioned that the guy is really good in choirs? Then DO listen to “Growing up is Hard to do Part 1″. Brian Wilson meets Elastica!

This boy recorded a masterpiece all alone in a room in Brighton. Would you bet on him? Who knows. Maybe Louis Philippe began his carreer in the same way.

http://www.sleepwalkingmag.com/2008/11/18/the-melancholy-songs/

'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' review

Brigadier is the UK's Matt Williams (not to be confused with the follicly-challenged former American baseball player) and his followup to last year's View From The Bath is a major step forward. This is a perfect album for those who enjoyed Andy Partridge's more Brian Wilson/Beach Boys-influenced excursions with XTC, and the opener "Growing Up Is Hard to Do (Part 1)" is a great example of this sound. Other standouts include the baroque pop of "The Language of Love", the 70s stylings of the languid "We Soiree", and the bouncy "This Is Why...", which seems to have borrowed its backing track from a combo of the 1975 Maxine Nightengale hit "Right Back Where We Started From" and Elton John's "I'm Still Standing". An excellent tour of pop styles with a unique British sensibility.

http://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/tuesday-roundup.html

'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' review

‘If you get through school you might land a job in a corporate conglomeration
Or if you want a couple years dossing as a slob you could try further education

One day you’re playing with computer games the next you’re browsing in a garden centre
Do you watch your youth going up in flames or do you say “No surrender”?’
(Growing up is hard to do – Part 1)

‘Love never asked my permission to stay,
It came with its baggage and moved in one day.
It took advantage of my friendly ways,
Closed all the curtains and made my life grey.’
(When will I be with you?)

Sophisticated, witty, very very clever – the lyrics are among the more unusual I’ve heard in a long time. (My apologies if I’ve transcribed them with errors.) They’re not a million miles away from the style of the likes of The Magnetic Fields and right up there in standard.

Matt Williams, aka The Brigadier, is basically a one-man-band – musician/producer/singer/songwriter – hailing from Wales originally. There are few truly original artists out there and those that are should be treasured. This is one of them in my view. Albeit The Brigadier (I do like the formality of the title) is drawing from wide and varied sources, his own stamp is well and truly all over this totally addictive work. It’s just glorious.

What can I say? I love this album. It’s odd, feel-good, has hints (only hints, mind you) of burlesque, Julian Lennon ( know, I know, but work with me here), The Feeling…but none of it is overwhelming. He’s pretty damn unique in my hearing. Oh hell, sod that, just go buy it and go for a drive. In the sun.

'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' review

Matt Williams is the multi-talented mastermind behind The Brigadier, and his new 2008 release, "The Rise & Fall of Responsibility" will have fans of 70s pop jumping out of their orange and yellow sofas for joy. This is one of the most genuinely retro-sounding CDs I've heard in a long time; Matt is a man who knows how to pay tribute to his influences, which include everything from Abba to the Zombies.

The Brigadier specializes in buoyant 70s-style pop, with vocals subtle and hushed, but that swell into a brilliant climax during the plentiful harmonies. He is not unlike Elliott Smith or Teenage Fanclub in this regard.

Things get started with the first part of the mini-concept album within these 13 otherwise independent tracks. "Growing Up Is Hard To Do" is divided into two parts, the first part being a straight ahead pop rocker with 70s flair (complete with hand claps and harpsichord). Part two near the end of the CD is more epic in scale. The haunting "Envy" also boasts astute lyrics that stand out over the gentle acoustic strumming.

While these tracks showcase the more thoughtful and introspective side, there is plenty of stuff written purely for fun. Like the best track, "This, Is Why...", a simple love song with one of the catchiest hooks on the record, sounding like a musical ghost of a Captain and Tenile hit written by Elton John. A close second is "The Box in the Back of My Mind", another upbeat highlight with shimmering guitars, hand claps, and optimistic lyrics. "Une Soiree" is an interesting track with a bouncy, carnival-like chorus that would not be out of place in an Abba song. Finally, there are a couple of tracks that sound VERY much like T. Rex, such as "The Language of Love", which dials the fuzzy guitars to 10 when they are not interspersed with some tickling of the ivories. Some tracks are more experimental, like the brief closer "Facade", which reminds me of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood during Halloween.

All things considered, "The Rise & Fall of Responsibility" is a hugely enjoyable effort from a very talented songwriter and musician. If you are a fan of diverse genres swirling around a power pop core, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out The Brigadier.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 5, 9, 11

'The Rise and Fall of Responsibility' review

Matt (The Brigadier) Williams is sure to garner attention this year. His latest, “The Rise and Fall…” is a highly addictive and intelligent pop album. The narrative pop style is rooted in the work of McCartney and Ray Davies, but with soft gentle vocals closer in sound to Sean O’Hagen of The High Llamas. If you enjoy a burst of pop creativity, you’ll flip over the opening track “Growing Up is Hard to Do Part 1″ which compares favorably to Bryan Scary. It shoots out a bouncy beat and handclaps to the lyric “One day I’m playin‘ with computer games… watchin‘ your youth go up in flames, so do you say no surrender?” This is an excellent beginning and leads to the dream-like mid tempo love song “When Will I be with You” which evokes a mix of Roger Waters and Aztec Camera with acoustic guitar strum and piano. “The Language of Love” is quirky piano number with a breathy vocal and rich chorus. The theatrical bend to the album not only compares well with Bryan Scary piano work, but also Genesis’ Steve Hackett guitar arrangements. The songs flow easily from the slow heavy organ depression of “Envy” to the music hall style of “Une Soiree” — it’s mesmerizing and the entire album will demand repeat listens. The utterly amazing “This, is why…” has a catchy hook, with a 70s era style similar to early Elton John. “The Box in the back of My Mind” gets in touch with it’s inner Raspberries and is my favorite track. The ending “Growing Up is Hard To Do Part 2″ has a Kinks meets Beach Boys vibe. Don’t miss this brilliant album, as I will now want to examine The Brigadier’s past albums. It makes my top ten list too – lots of great pop this year!

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2008/05/brigadier-rise-fall-of-responsibility.html

'6 Christmas tales' review

I love a good Christmas album and “Six Christmas Tales” with The Brigadier (Matt Williams) plays like an intimate concert in your living room. The album has just enough Ray Davies’ English humour and lounge theatrics to make this a nice holiday album. “Santa Claus” is a soft shoe ballad to the jolly one himself, full of hope and corny sentiment (the stuff that Ringo used to do so well). “Christmas Ain’t Just for Kids” has a richer instrumentation and is very much like an XTC single with Brian May guitars in the background, and it’s a lot of fun to listen to. The fun of shopping is part of “The Christmas List” with it’s cheesy lyrical schedule of shopping “to-do” items and a solid guitar solo. There’s loads of talent Mr. Williams has displayed here. Thank goodness we have original holiday music here without the same old boring holiday chestnuts (Silver Bells, anyone?). Even though it’s low key and understated, it suits the weather and makes me look forward to the holidays.

http://www.powerpopaholic.com/2008/10/brigadier-rhymes-for-rainy-days-ep-more.html

'6 Christmas tales' review

He's back! This time he's carrying a load (six to be exact) of Holiday-themed pop ditties in his "tune sack" that are guaranteed to warm your Holiday season! Ever-present is the innocent, whimsical, very 60's British pop sensibility he exhibited on his superb "View From The Bath" release! The hushed vocals and harmonies are front and center here and are supported by piano, guitars, tambourines, organ, strings, and other assorted instruments to create a truly pleasant, charming portrayal of, truly British slice of life a la Ray Davies meets Brian Wilson display of pop genius! GREAT!!!!!

http://64.33.80.122/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=KKM&Product_Code=The_Brigadier_2&Category_Code=

'View from the Bath' review

UK import and a very exciting debut that, at times, reminds us of Van Duren and The Scruffs(check out "Tell Me What You Want"). The Brigadier, one Matt Williams, says he's never heard of these bands and, naturally coming from the UK, that would be the case and, indeed, Williams influences are grounded mainly in his homeland. We hear strains of The Lilac Time/Stephen Duffy, The Zombies, The High Llamas, The Divine Comedy and The Kinks are here. There's lots and lots of 60s Brian Wilson here as the 60s vibe is strong, hard-to-miss and uniquely re-interpreted for 2007 here. There's some sleepy sunshine pop angles woven into the proceedings, too. In fact, here's a misnomer: this is a gripping, exciting sleepy delight! Hey, The Brigadier even got a quote from Wondermints! 'Wonderful sound. . .contagious songs'. Nice.

'View from the Bath' review

Matt Williams is The Brigadier and his 13-track CD, "View From the Bath", launches into the opening track "Tell Me What You Want" like a candy pop Archies Rick Springfield throwback 70's pill of fun with vocals that land between the Small Faces and the Dead. The entire CD was written and performed by Williams who does an admirable job on all instruments, but the real talent here is in the whimsical depth that exists. Track 2, "Regents Park", is a treat, and underneath the sugary surface is a deep thoughtful lyric that exhibits a McCartney-ish maturity, 'i'd like to rescue you for dinner, and if it isn't dark, how bout a walk in Regents Park'. Track 5, "Oh, But I Do", is an Itchigoo Park bubble gum gem as well that opens with marimba? Williams writes to the heart-broken girl, 'take it in stride, or run and hide, i don't hear you, cause you say the same things again and again, why did he have to go, you gotta face it baby he doesn't love you..but i do'. Track 7, title track "View from the Bath", is a whimsical instrumental lasting all of 30 seconds of distorted calliope. The final track, "You've Got to Be", leaves the listener with the same energetic pop love as it opened with. Williams' tune is a dedication to, of course, a girl, 'when i first me you i was dreamin', then i saw you in my house, you were a cat and i was the rat, you've got to be the most beautiful girl in the world, you've got to be the one, i wanted you to be my lady, and i have to be your boy'. All tolled, the album is a light pop journey that fuses the best of an era's pop sense, including English Hermits inspirations. We look forward to more in general, The Brigadier version.

'View from the Bath' review

WOW!!! Influenced by the cream of pop and rock music from the rock and roll era through to the present day, The Brigadier (Matt Williams) writes very British, melodic pop songs with heart, melting chord changes, catchy choruses and sings in a charming, hushed vocal style that recalls some of the greats! Creation/Poptones boss Alan McGee was suitably impressed to offer Matt a gig at his Death Disco night in London. His influences include the great perfect pop-rock records of all time, they include records by - Queen, Nick Lowe, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Dion, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Sparks, The Bee Gees, T-Rex, Pink Floyd, The Who, Big Star, The Raspberries, and many more! Not bad, eh? And that's not even the half of it! This disc is brimming with songs and styles that reads like a modern take on the "Rubble" series of great 60's British psych-pop! Lots of hooks and harmonies are the order of the day here! Strains of Colin Blunstone, 10CC, Queen, The Yellow Balloon, The Zombies, The Left Banke, Martin Newell, and Donovan also come to mind throughout! "He writes cool, catchy songs with his own distinctive style of totally original intelligent pop music that simply oozes hip, and is one of those rare animals - genuine and original melodies and lyrics, but with a very distinct 60's early pop feel - and it makes you feel great!" - PopWorldPromotes.com Can't say enough about this great find! A real grower and an absolute fun listen! GREAT!!!!!

'View from the Bath' review

The Brigadier has been busier than Lily Allen building an on-line army of fans, and here comes the full assault - debut album View From The Bath is half an hour of songwriting at its very finest. Davies, Wilson and McCartney spring to mind, but it's in the more subtle moments that the Brigadier comes into his own, with a distinctly modern view of British city life. Buy this now; cult status or major label stardom beckon, but it starts here, in the bath.

'Some sort of magic' review

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