Combe is the musical outlet for Oregon indie rocker Matt Combe. From the Beginning is Combe’s third release and consists of just three kinda indie, kinda folky, kinda soulful tracks. I hear it like Matt Mays & El Torpedo or Sunparlour Players, but with a fondness for keyboards. If that sounds like your thing, cool. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the From the Beginning pretty quickly. Matt Combe is undoubtedly talented as a musician, but I didn’t feel that the EP was a great display of those skills.
From the Beginning kicks off with what I feel is the best track on the EP, “If This is Love.” Combe’s singing is on point throughout the song, displaying a pretty impressive vocal range and complimenting the mellow instrumental. The song changes gears around the 3:00 minute mark, stripping off some of the synth layers and closing out the tune with more of a raw sound. “If This is Love” has enough variation to keep the song interesting throughout its five-minute runtime, but never loses its focus.
The remainder of From the Beginning didn’t have the same impact, however. “Another Fire” starts off interestingly enough, sounding like a folky Weezer song with the keys, guitar, and vocals all following the same melody. By chorus time, unfortunately, the track started to lose me. The singing in the chorus seems a bit braggadocious and doesn’t really jive with the bland instrumentals. The song just doesn’t feel as thought out as “If This is Love” and, despite its shorter runtime, starts to drag.
Combe closes out the EP with the song “Holding Back.” The song builds off of a cool, understated guitar and keyboard progression. The chorus is pretty catchy, even if the warbly vocals sound a bit forced. The four-minute mark was a real standout point in the song, with Combe amping up the keyboards and bringing in some finger snapping to compliment the percussion. This would’ve been my ideal ending to the song, but apparently Combe didn’t think so. From the Beginning instead ends with nearly a minute of bland, bluesy moaning that I just could’ve done without.
All in all, I don’t feel like Combe reached his full potential with From the Beginning. Matt Combe is a talented guy and this EP showed that he can put together a captivating song, but I feel that two thirds of the EP needed some revision.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Kate Erickson