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Press

12
3/14/2009
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Wasn't sure what to expect, but this is cool, a hybrid of several brands of rock with hi-tone pop and mid-period Beatles—their expansive, exploratory, semi-symphonic era—as well as other 60s bands. Matt Kollar is the big kahuna on a lush outing appearing to root in a quintet but with a roster of nine contributors altogether. The eye-grabbing, loopy, painted cartoon cover was done by Kollar's multi-instrumentalist cohort, Tisha Boonyawatana, and intones the concept theme of leaving and returning, via a Robots (cool Disney animated flick) theme.

To pigeonhole this, though, isn't easy. It's driven by Kollar's keyboard playing and the group's multi-vocals, with bluegrass and folk leaking through in a high-spirited concoction that's simultaneously wistful and joyous. The vocals can be tight or jug-loose while the instrumentation is usually right on the point, with side special glockenspiel glass tones decorating or clarinets tootling. In fact, one of the secrets of the wide sound of this recording is the insertion of subtle effects and recessed backlines.

The CD's cuts cycle through various travails, rewards, and contemplations before coming to the decision to bid "Farewell Adventure!" to the entire idea and settle back into home. Along the way, Kollar's vocals slip here and there, as in "Daydreaming", and he's never really a trained vocalist at any point, but that fits the format in its own informal way. More than once, the disc reminds the listener of a soundtrack for a play chronicling the Everyman during his roaming period before finding quiet paradise on the back steps of the house he'd first exited from, occasionally Shipwrecked with the Suburbia Blues, Daydreaming all the while until stumbling on the Beautiful Truth that the heart never really leaves the hearth.

 

http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p05266.htm


2/1/2009
Penny Black Music Review UK

Farewell Adventure' attempts to capture something of the grass roots of a mythical Americana of hobos, travelling bluesmen and all night diners with a barrage of traditional country and folk songs. It largely succeeds with an ebullience that occasionally threatens to descend into a cacophony, but largely manages to keep an ambitious project under control.

I’m not sure if this is a concept album per se, but the opening instrumental (bar a few spoken passages) 'Bon Voyage', sets the scene for an album which is about that most American of themes; the movement of people, whether across the ocean or from East to West. From here the songs are musically varied though with a thematic unity that makes the album work.

With its title and references to Californian icons like the Pacific Highway, 'Surf Song' is a rarity in songs heavily influenced (ie copying) ny the Beach Boys later, great works in that it is worthwhile and very good. The obvious harmonies are there, but the sheer energy and changes of gear, along with a genuine sense of innocence that few other than Brian Wilson have achieved make this the highlight of a great album.

Elsewhere there appear to be influences of the Eels, particularly in Matt Kollar’s throaty singing voice, especially on 'Beautiful Truth'. The rejection from the standard rock/pop instruments with trumpet, clarinet and accordion brings to mind The Band. While this may not be 'Music From the Big Pink', it does possess some of that album’s wonder in the small stories of everyday American life and it’s majestic landscape. Like The Band there is a dedication to taking traditional country and folk and using it in a way relevant to modern ears.

The album’s closing songs, 'The Red Wagon' and 'Farewell Adventure', seem to conclude the theme of travelling and arriving. 'The Red Wagon' is very much a concept album song, a lot of exposition and a simple ensemble chorus and spoken passages. Again this is quite ambitious for a first album, as, on first hearing, it can seem a mess rather than a coherent song. The driving music anchors what could otherwise be a chaotic format.

The marching final title song, again features changes of pace as it mounts towards a final folksy crescendo of harmonica and just about everything else the band have in their arsenal.

The thing I like about 'Farewell Adventure' is Kollar’s energy and willingness to take risks and surprise the listener. He has gathered a talented band around him uses them to transform songs, which could have been rendered listless otherwise, into what is an accomplished and enjoyable first record.

http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Review.aspx?id=6366


1/11/2009
Review From Leicester | By Steve O.

Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob - Farewell Adventure (Independent)
This is the debut from this Southern Californian quintet. I have to confess to being partial to a good piece of accordion playing, and this is an instrument that is heavily featured on the opening track "Bon Voyage". Putting an instrumental as the opening track is a brave choice, but it somehow sets the tone for the whole album. This is an eclectic mix of styles of folk, Americana and contemporary up-tempo rock and roll. Kollar is not afraid to be different, and his band back him admirably with a whole range of instruments from glockenspiel to trumpet to banjo. Stand out tracks are "Cartwheels" which is a loose but tight, sun kissed folk pop song. However "Surf Song" has a feel of “Holland” period, Beach Boys harmonies, and the piano playing of Ben Folds. It is a real nod to surfing life in Southern California. A fine debut from a band and writer who have, I’m sure, a lot more to offer.
Steve O.
http://www.leicesterbangs.co.uk/jan09-4.html


12/16/2008
More "Farewell" News From The UK | By Bluesbunny

This California based band's album plopped into the old CD player a few weeks ago and has rarely left it since. A nine piece combo fronted by Kollar who writes and sings in excellent fashion, they were a breath of warm fresh air in the cold bunny burrow. Kollar has the knack of writing memorable melodies and, with a wonderful array of backings from the band members, several of the songs here are instant winners. At times the band inhabits some of the same territory as Aberfeldy or Noah and the Whale although scoring less on the whimsy scale.

From the sun kissed folky manoeuvrings of "Cartwheels" with wheezy accordion to the Van Dyke Parkisms of "Surf Song" Kollar sings his heart out with the latter sounding like a rejuvenated High Llamas. Definitely a high point.

There are at least five top-notch songs here with the last three presenting a tour de force. "Who's Gonna Bring The Sun?" breezes along with clarinet and trumpet adding colour, "The Red Wagon" has a tremendous echoing and forlorn piano sound. The closing title song gathers folk influences before freaking out with the band throwing in everything but the kitchen sink.

A tremendous debut and a name to look out for and do have a look at their video on their Myspace page.

Review by: Bluesbunny
http://www.bluesbunny.com/tabid/122/xmmid/474/xmid/1439/xmview/2/default.aspx


12/13/2008
Long Beach State Review | By Taylor Rea

Listening to Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob is like watching the sunset from a porch on a plantation in the rural South even if you're in your car sitting in traffic on the 405 freeway. Farewell Adventure! is the new album by indie/folk rock band leader Matt Kollar that's established the band's mellow yet upbeat, driving sound. The vocals of Kollar and his female band members blend together melodically, complimenting the unique sound of accordion, banjo, piano, and glockenspiel just to name a few. Even with all the different sounds Kollar is able to establish a definite yet diverse sound; from songs like "Suburbia Blues" which harkens a modern Southern hootenanny with its banjo and organ to "The Surf Song" whose piano reminds one of Ben Folds Five in their heyday, Farewell Adventure! is a great find. They're a local band with a non-local sound that you don't often hear in Southern California, but at the heart of it is a laid back attitude with a touch of poetry which is something that everyone can appreciate.

Taylor Rea
CSULB Music Journalist


12/4/2008
Mickey Rooney And The Angry Mob | By David Crowling

What if Danielson remade High School Musical?
You've guessed it, it might sound something like this. All this lacks is Mickey Rooney or Judy Garland to send us spinning back in some time shift vortex to those innocent time when 'let's put on a show' was a whole genre of popular cinema. Terribly nice young people overcome the odds to put on a swell show etc. This is especially prevalent when the choirs give a Beach Boys and girls feel to songs like "Surf Song" that update the genre to the pop films of the 1960's ('...we're all going on a ...') They are full of peppy spirit. I don't mean to be condescending or disingenuous, there are a lot of good things here, and when things quieten down it promises and delivers a whole lot. "Who's Gonna Bring the Sun" would maybe soundtrack a quieter interlude, the doubts before the big show, and it is just the sort of thing that proves that they have the talent to do so. Any sharper and songs like "Waiting" would squeeze through the critical filter as power pop. They certainly know what to do with a melody and there is a cinematic quality to "Birds on a May Morning". It is the scene after the setback, contemplative, thoughtful, tender, just before everything turns out after all. It's all in the trumpets, the lift to the spirits, soaring, flying. This record has charm and if they were putting on a show it might well be worth going along to.

Date review added: Thursday, December 04, 2008 
Reviewer: David Cowling 
http://www.americana-uk.com/auk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4246


12/3/2008
Review in OC Weekly | By Erin Dewitt

[Locals Only] Matt Kollar & the Angry Mob

Amateurish, underdeveloped, elementary—all descriptions seemingly unknown to Huntington Beach's Matt Kollar and his band, the Angry Mob. The singer/songwriter's debut album, Farewell Adventure, sounds like the product of a skilled veteran, with its intricate song structures and elaborate melodies. 

Quickie instrumental opener "Bon Voyage!" rolls along the highs and lows of an orchestral narrative, tipped with a montage of random voices weaving in and out of the background. Those craving sing-alongs will like the metaphoric "Shipwrecked," which starts out as an acoustic sea-faring love song, but soon slides into a multilayered odyssey melding an organ with an electric-guitar solo. Kollar also incorporates unpredictable, anomalous elements in his work—take the glockenspiel-laced "Daydreaming," which rises above a traditional campfire tune with the aid of some piano, tin-can beats and a little of that backward-masking madness. "The Red Wagon" dials things back down to a minimalist level during the chorus, which comes off as part ballad, part nursery rhyme.

Matt Kollar & the Angry Mob stick to the wholesome side of folk, but they find a unique voice by leaning toward theatrics and vaudeville. By adding endless elements of unexpected layers of trumpet, accordion and clarinet, they exude musicianship well beyond their years.


11/13/2008
Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob - CD - Farewell Adventure! | By Peter J Brown aka toxic pete

'Farewell Adventure!' is the debut album from Californian singer songwriter Matt Kollar; an eclectic coming together of forms that brings folk closer to rock without ever relying on either genre for complete safety.
The honest, up-front vocalisation of Kollar is more than adequately matched by a robust and interestingly diverse instrumental backdrop. Kollar's guitars and keyboards are supported with massive empathetic understanding by The Angry Mob who obviously feel very comfortable in Kollar's poetic and compositional company. The guys and gals of The Mob play with an attack and gusto that just shouldn't work with Kollar's music; they take it deep and bold to create what for many vocalists could prove to be a few decibels too far. But, Kollar has strong vocal chords and easily rides the vibrant waves generated by the band.

Yes, demonstrating superb song writing abilities Kollar fuels his words with pretty hefty accompaniment and, not frightened to go 'large' with the mix, Kollar's approach is definitely weighty but never ham-fisted. Kollar's vocal delivery is gritty and ballsy; think Damien Rice on uppers! Offering a sizeable chunk of singalongability, 'Farewell Adventure!' is liberally scattered with melodic hooks and foot tappin' rhythms and beats. Beautifully grounded but also richly decorated, 'Farewell Adventure!' sneaks up on you and slowly pulls you in!

'Farewell Adventure!' by Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob is a wonderfully bright and well proportioned piece of work that doesn't quite know which modern musical pigeonhole it should be sitting in; all the better for its slightly tangential nu-folk leanings and nicely poised on the edge of musical reason it's genre blurring credentials pretty much ensure a wide catchment of muzos will be enticed by its depth and feel. A crackin' debut album, 'Farewell Adventure!' by Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob is as compelling as it is fresh - quite superb!!

Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)



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