Album Reviews

Matthew Stubbs & The Antiguas

 Matthew Stubbs & The Antiguas

Artist:     Matthew Stubbs & The Antiguas

Album:      Matthew Stubbs & The Antiguas

Label:     Self-released

Release Date:     1.26.2018


Matthew Stubbs has been the lead guitarist for Charlie Musselwhite’s band for the past ten years and you might expect a blues or blues/soul record from him, given his past two solo releases. Instead, this one is hard to pin down. Running the gamut from Latin rock to Prog rock to Jazz fusion to Afro-beat to, as they say. Acid blues and Psych rock, this is a band rocking on all cylinders. And, it is not about the guitar; it is about the sound. Drummer Chris Rivelli hits so many objects that you’d swear there is a second percussionist. Keyboardist Justin Lopes takes both his support and solos to a different level and the quartet, including bassist Mark Hickox, lay down some infectious, cinematic grooves that defy to comparison to much of what you’ve heard from any band.

This is totally instrumental record, influenced by the likes of Booker T., Link Wray, Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and others like the Budos Band. In one sense the music leans toward the past as you easily envision some of these tracks as scores for films from the ’60s and ’70s. They are indeed cinematic in scope. Stubbs says, “it’s meshing vintage sounds with modern tweaks. It’s lo-fi inspiration with hi-fi sonics and production.” Better yet, this is unexplored territory for Stubbs.

“Fistful” could be an homage to ’60s films, “Dub Stubbs” is an organ-filled excursion, and both “Bastille Day” and “Tarantino” are in the psych-rock mode. “John Doe” sounds like Santana on steroids while “Unwinder’ mashes up British Invasion rock, garage rock and prog rock. “Dancing With the Bull” and “Death Grip” have some jazz fusion elements. You’ll have to listen pretty closely to find blues riffs in Stubbs’ playing. There are a few passages, but the album reads more like a score for an underground film. Kudos to Stubbs for giving us something different. Often instrumental albums fail to connect. This one keeps your interest as it’s so different from almost anything you hear these days. Yet, in a strange way, this music will likely remain timeless too.

—Jim Hynes

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