Arts & Culture

Tunes Review: Coyote

written by Zane Woodford
September 7, 2012 12:00 pm

Matt Mays’ new album Coyote is well worth the wait.

With Mays taking on sole production duties for the first time, listeners are treated to his most introspective and experimental record since 2006’s When the Angels Make Contact.

Crafted over four years and nearly as many continents, the album is diverse, touching on genres from roots rock to reggae, all with Mays’ classic Canadiana. The shaggy Dartmouth rocker’s signature mix of vintage and modern rock is on full display here, as he combines dark and airy electronic sounds with the familiar twang of lap steel.

“Loveless” sounds like classic Faces, as if Mays went back in time with his Gretsch and kicked Rod Stewart out of the band. After “Loveless” comes “Dull Knife”, an ultra-chill reggae-infused jam about searching for answers in the sands of the Indian Ocean.

The album also has its fair share of straight-up rock, like “Drop the Bombs” and the first single, “Take It on Faith”—a song Mays said was written and recorded within an eight-hour span. “Stoned” is a classic Matt Mays song—a simple chord progression with a steady beat—and is sure to be a staple in his notoriously high-energy live shows. Three psychedelic interludes (“Airstrike,” “Rochambo” and “Madre Padre”) are the glue holding Coyote together: a trippy exploration of Mays’ musical influences. “Chase the Light,” the album’s last track, is a dark, quiet ballad of personal soul-searching. It fades out like a movie set up for a sequel, leaving the listener begging for more Mays.

In The Coast last week, Mays said he’s happy with the record: “I feel like it’s done. It’s the way I’ve envisioned it since I first picked up my guitar after my last album.”

Mays took the time to do things his way and the result is his best offering to date—the true culmination of his previous work. On the album’s first track, the California-dreaming “Indio”, Mays sings, “I was born on the day the music died.” Evidently, he is its reincarnation.

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