Ever wondered what it would sound like if Keith Richards had given songwriting advice to the Eurythmics? No worries if you haven’t – Matt Webb has already grappled with that question. And what we have here, in the shape of his debut solo EP, is the answer. Kind of.
“I know it’s super random,” the Marianas Trench guitarist explains, about a song called “Cinnamon”, “but I read his autobiography, and I was, like, ‘What would Keith Richards do here?’ Cause he was talking about simple, simple songs with nothing to them. And then it just came out.”
“Cinnamon” is part minimalist funk, part Corey Hart, all hook, and possibly the last thing anybody would have expected from Webb. He even says so. “You know, I was a little surprised by it too,” he admits, laughing, “but I’m a big ‘80s sucker. I’ve seen Def Leppard live five times. The ‘80s just sort of rubbed off.”
Webb adds that his teenage musical diet also included the Matthew Good Band, Blink-182, and Foo Fighters. But it’s the sophisticated pop lover who emerges on his upcoming EP. Or “Justin Timberlake if he played guitar,” as one friend put it, about an EP that also offers chest-bursting electro-ballads (“Goodbye Addict”), squelchy, neon, dancefloor-burners (“Take You Higher”), and aerobic synth-funk (“Bad Girl”),
“I’ve been writing a long time,” Webb shrugs, “and I wanted to try something a little different. There are some extremely straight-ahead pop songs on there. But they were really fun to do.”
Webb’s debut is going to delight the faithful, surprise many others, and probably saddle the young guitarist with an unmanageably successful side-project. Which would be fine with Webb, since touring is his “favourite, favourite” thing to do. But if it should cause a little anxiety among the Trenchers, don’t let it. Assures Webb, “Marianas Trench is my number one priority and my family, so I’ll make sure this doesn’t interfere with it.”
“But,” he adds, “I’ll sneak it in whenever I can.”
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