My first introduction to Onelinedrawing and Jonah Matranga
was via a collaboration he did with another band called Rival
Schools. With this album I could pick out the Rival School's
influence and what I could suppose were Jonah Matranga's influence,
and it was intriguing. I wanted to find out more about Onelinedrawing
and happened across The Volunteers which is Onelinedrawing's
second album following Visitor. As I did more research
into Jonah Matranga's past I found out he was the lead singer
in a band called Far, a band I had heard of but yet had
not listened to, but wanted to. Far was a short-lived emo band
that seems to be a common reference in the new world order of
current emo artists such as Dashboard Confessional- their
influence can be found in many places. So I knew Jonah Matranga
had a lot to live up to with his solo project.
And by solo, I mean he did it all by himself, apart from a
little help lent by friends and family, the entire album is
completely him. Even touring it sounds like, when he plays shows,
he is alone on stage with a guitar and a processing stack that
he calls "R2D2", who provides all of the drum and
incidental backings. I don't think you can go anymore solo than
that. And as to his worthiness though, I can't compare to Far,
who I still have never heard, I can just judge him by what is
present on this album, and I am impressed.
Jonah Matranga is a very talented artist, singer, and songwriter.
The album shows a great range of emotion and technique, from the
elemental "As Much To Myself As To You" to the complex
"We Had a Deal" there resounds pathos and a sly sense
of humor that I believe would characterize the artist himself.
It is a broken down sort-of emo that catches me the most; it simplifies
rudimentary feelings into a coherent and smooth songcraft so that
almost every cut of this album is catchy and inspired. Many of
the songs just are, paying pretense to no one and accomplishing
much for the listener. "A Ghost" is haunting (no pun
intended), and "Stay" sticks with you (Okay, pun intended),
and over the course of the record show the multi-faceted layering
Matranga uses to make the listener feel.
The worst critique I could give this album is that it wallows
just a tad on the emotional end of the spectrum, and would almost
need a follow-on track at the end of the album to beg the listener
"not to jump". Beyond that I liked his voice, but
I could imagine a lot of people not caring for it and maybe
even finding it annoying. It is very characteristic, but being
different isn't necessarily a benefit sometimes.
Now, if you will excuse me, I definitely need to go out and buy
a Far album to further my education and move on to his first Onelinedrawing
album to see how the transition really works out. Oh yeah, and
if you have a chance, you really should pick up that album I first
mentioned, Rival Schools United By Onelinedrawing, as it
is a very good EP and introduction to both of these bands. If
you like emo, you need to know Jonah Matranga and Onelinedrawing,
what else can I say?
1. New York
2. Over It
3. A Ghost
6. We Had A Deal
7. Oh, Boys
8. Livin' Small
11. As Much To Myself As You
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