Throughout his two decades at the forefront of Canadian music, Vancouver-based rock icon Matthew Good has only been one thing: unpredictable.
Refusing to adhere to the path of least resistance—a flat, unwavering, pop/rock cultivator status—Good has successfully shuffled through musical genres and aural approaches. The strains of his early work in The Matthew Good Band are virtually incomparable to that of revered solo efforts such as 2003’s Avalanche, 2007’s Hospital Music and 2009’s Vancouver.
Yet each album and track, beat and chord assert Matthew Good as the epitome of an artist and creator: invoking personal challenge, taking unprecedented courses and carving his own path.
The results speak for themselves. From multiplatinum sales to four Juno awards including Vancouver being heralded as 2011’s Rock Album of the Year, 19 nominations overall and almost one million albums in the hands of fans, Matthew Good’s personal mantra of musical evolution has blossomed internationally.
Such accolades culminate in his 13th studio album and sixth solo venture Arrows of Desire (Frostbyte Media/Universal Music), slated for release on September 24. Precursed by lead track “Had It Coming,” where 2011’s Lights of Endangered Species saw Good delving into passion inspired by starkness, the 10 tracks that comprise Arrows of Desire find Good inspired from a new perspective: bare-bones rock.
“With Lights of Endangered Species, I accomplished a lot of things that I’d longed to do for years,” he says. “After I finished touring the album, I found myself at home looking out the window one morning wondering what to do next. There were a lot of options; a lot of different directional possibilities.”
Having issued albums embracing everything from unifying concepts to symphonic rock however, while many doors remained open, Good found only one of them enticing enough to fully step through thanks to an entirely unwitting encounter.
“I had come across an old playlist on my computer and was listening to it that morning. While I was standing there, “Honky’s Ladder” by The Afghan Whigs came on and—as has been the case since the first time I heard it in 1996—it just overwhelmed me. There are a lot of people that are turned off by the discord of Greg Dulli’s vocals but ever since Up In It came out, the utter abandon that he employs has always inspired me. When it finished, the one-two-three of The Pixies’, “I’ve Been Tired” filled my office. Those first words have been burned into my memory since 1987: “She’s a real left winger cause she been down south and held peasants in her arms…” I knew what I wanted to do. I sat down, picked up a guitar and within five minutes had the opening first verse and chorus of “Via Dolorosa.””
Impassioned by his formative years, Good notes that Arrows of Desire is spawned from a direction he hasn’t explored in years. As strange as it sounds, reflection truly is the perfect post- Lights… muse.
“Arrows of Desire is simple rock,” he asserts with finality. “I grew up listening to bands that were four or five chords who made it magic and that’s kinda what I wanted to get done. That’s not saying there aren’t some complexities on the record because there damn well is, but I don’t know… it was just fun to do.”