Aug. 31, 2016 03:15 PM

The term no-frills isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Matt Babineaux illustrates that on his A Place to Fall, a seven-song debut featuring him gently dressing up his singer-songwriter rock with a no-frills approach.

Well-recorded and produced, the record’s subtle approach presents his writing without hogging up the spotlight his words deserve. Many times, there’s more voice than backing content. Yet, this singer-songwriter never takes himself too seriously, employing a loose and breezy approach.

With a nod and a wink, Babineaux breaks the fourth wall here and there, (on the title track he seems to stifle a laugh). On “Three Four Time,” he opens with “I could write a song/To help me with moving on/It’d be simple in rhyme/And in three-four time.” It all translates to an easy-to-listen-to record. There’s a lot of love gone wrong but never what you would call the blues. He’s moving on through songs.

Always mellow and earnest, Babineaux might be the prodigy of John Mayer if he hung with Neil Young and John Denver. While there is some twang, it is not country at all — perhaps a more acoustic alt. rock version of locals Mike Dean or Jaryd Hargrave, who almost exclusively focuses on his love life.

Babineaux also gets help from well-known local talents, such as Sweet Cecilia. On “Eastbound” — with its organ and their harmony/backing vocals, it is likely the biggest song of the CD yet it is still very low key. Jim McGee, a local guitarist whose singer/songwriter, alt. rock style could have served as a blueprint for Babineaux, laid guitar work for much of the record.

Loaded with well-versed lyrics and vintage country textures in an alt rock existence, A Place to Fall is no frills but full of charm.


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