By: Phil Makepeace
The Matterhorn Project | facebook | bandcamp |
Released on January 1, 2015 via Self-released
When I was 11, we had to do a load of ‘service projects’ towards our Confirmation into the Catholic Church. If I’d known at the time what I realised a few years later when I reverted to a life of sin, I may just have followed this band’s lead. Stood up, bought some ice boots and run up all 14,692ft of the Matterhorn. As seemingly far away as possible from the nonsense and bullshit that was being peddled in my direction. And definitely miles away from the church leader who decided that project was pronounced ‘proh-ject’.?? If you have a name like The Matterhorn Project, you need to have a big sound to back it up. And if you name the first song on an album ‘The Last Avalanche’, you need to make it apocalyptic somehow. Or at least portend something both monstrous and beautiful. And this is exactly what happens for the first six and a half minutes. The layers work. They tell a convincing story. It hits the same notes as Porcupine Tree’s Fear of A Blank Planet. But I’m afraid I don’t remember Keyboard Cat narrating the end of the world at any point. The piano towards the end of ‘The Last Avalanche’ is lightweight, unnecessary and mixed such that it completely dominates a very reasonable guitar solo.
The bits of random piano mask effective riffs, hooks and gorgeous noise. And never more so than on ‘The End is Over’ when I genuinely had to check that my housemate hadn’t snuck a Bechstein into my room. It’s no coincidence that the two ‘Hallways’ parts, the best chapters on Find A Way, lack these rude interruptions. Indeed, ‘Hallways Part 2’ has dominant keys throughout. It’s like Simon Jeffes and Steven Wilson met in a bar one evening in the 90s and decided to get jiggy.
Finding a consistent narrative is something that sadly seems to evade The Matterhorn Project. Saying that there are elements of improvisation on your record doesn’t excuse it sounding unfinished. There’s that scene in Friends where Rachel accidentally combines the recipes for trifle and shepherd’s pie. Joey comments, “Custard: good! Jam: good! Beef: goooood!” And that’s what this is; some very decent set pieces that don’t quite combine into anything meaningful. But I suppose I should get used to cocktails for the damned where I’m going.