4 out of 5 stars
Videos by American Songwriter
When it came time to record his third record, what would be his first in five years, Australian singer/songwriter Matt Corby was being rescued. Neighbors were helping him and his family escape the raging floodwaters that ravaged parts of his homeland in early 2022.
Corby was soon left to pick up the pieces, something he tackled head-on in the studio. However, given such a life-altering event coupled with the last few years spent under the thumb of a virus, this was no easy feat. Emotions were high as were uncertainties, and creation happened in a pressure cooker.
What came out of that time is an 11-track rumination on life, on the bad parts, but also on all the good. While sifting through the rubble, he found peace in the aftermath. Despite it all, Corby is still standing, and he’s here to say “everything’s fine” in his latest album, Everything’s Fine.
Everything’s Fine opens – just as this record’s journey did – with “Problems.” A trippy soundscape, casting fractals of synth, bursts into a steady R&B groove that swims throughout the melting track. Throughout the release, a vintage funk-soul sound washes the songs in a warm technicolor glow. Each track crackles to life like a film reel, throwing shapes of hip-hop, R&B, soft rock, and psychedelia into the ether.
Corby’s sensual baritone punctuates the album’s rise and fall. Delicate, but also raspy; dynamic, yet carefree, his voice soars above the intricate melodies. Every track harbors some bite-sized wisdom that he’s collected along the way.
The lyrics are poignant and echo their songwriter’s resilience. You can take your complications, he croons on “Problems,” And shove it where the sun don’t shine / To create something to benefit all humankind. That acumen reverberates through the vulnerable “For Real” in which he offers, No matter what happened music holds your hand, and can be heard on the dreamy “Big Smoke” as he ponders, Your tired arms need a break for a minute / There’s nothing wrong with sitting in the thick of it / When it’s all done won’t you be rid of it.
Each song is deeply personal as he takes listeners along on his journey to healing. However, where some tracks pack punch, like the album’s swelling and cinematic title track, others are sleepy, passive listens that exist in the background, like the album’s acoustic left turn “Mainies” and the elevator soundtrack “Words I Say.” The album is, at times, enrapturing, and at others, easy listening.
Overall, Everything’s Fine is more than just fine. The album is a groovy, spacey, soul-stirring message of hope where dreamy, drifting vocals meet easy, inoffensive sounds. It’s a passionate, but also a perceptive record, one that understands and lets listeners know it will all be okay.
Photo by Billy Zammit / Courtesy of Missing Piece Group