When Matt Costa first started writing for his fourth full-length album, he envisioned the end result as a stripped-down selection of rootsy folk songs. But once he plunged into the songwriting process something much more grandiose and sonically adventurous began to emerge. Soon Costa found himself in the midst of a highly unanticipated yet deeply expansive evolution of artistry as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. "The songs started morphing and twisting and taking on a more mystic sound," says Costa, "and at the same time I began opening up my sense of what's possible with melody." Thanks to his resculpting those songs with elaborate yet naturalistic instrumentation and some boldly inventive merging of disparate musical styles - as well as decamping to Glasgow to record with longtime Belle & Sebastian/Mogwai cohort Tony Doogan and an illustrious ensemble of Scottish musicians - the new self-titled release proves to be Costa's most ambitious and magnetic album to date.
The follow-up to 2010's Mobile Chateau (hailed as a "gorgeously garage-sounding album with organic percussion instruments, crackling tube-driven amps, and jangly guitars cascading in every direction" by AllMusic), the new record again reveals Costa's penchant for blending sun-soaked pop with sweetly ethereal, British-folk-influenced rock. But in a marked developmental departure, Costa builds on that pairing with lush arrangements and sprawling melodies that elevate his sound to a stunning new level. Produced by Doogan (also known for his work with Teenage Fanclub, Mojave 3, and Super Furry Animals) and recorded at Castle of Doom (the Glasgow recording studio created by Doogan and Mogwai), the ferociously creative self titled LP also features a prestigious lineup of supporting musicians, including Costa's friend and guitarist Danny Garcia, Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson and bassist Bobby Kildea, and former Isobel Campbell collaborators Chris Geddes (organ) and Dave McGowan (pedal steel, piano, double bass).