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Matt Stead & Rob Ash - Autobiography

This has so many genres, the only way I can describe it is as a "smorgasboard of sound". It starts with some delicate fingerpicking, lulling you into a false sense of security, then rolls into a 70s beat in some ways similar to what you hear on their excellent album 'The Wend' (which received our recommended album award). From there, it's a rollercoaster of musical style and variety. In some ways it's like 'The Wend' got put into a blender and this came out. (but in a nice way).

For ukulele fans, this CD is a great thing for a good few reasons.

It's certainly not one of those ukulele CDs that you put on and the music snobs say "what the hell's that?" - you know the response. More likely to get a "who is that?" genuinely interested response.

On the technique side, there's finger picking, there are string bends, there are many different strum styles from flat strums to rhythmic 'chunking'. The music itself moves from pop to spanish to jazz to classical and more. At about 13:30 it even sounds like my good friends the Hedge Inspectors have turned up!

It's called 'Autobiography', and it appears to be a project where Matt and Rob did something for themselves - in their words: "On 23rd April we headed into the studio to record something a bit different. Something a bit special. One half hour piece of ukulele music with bass, drums, keys and guitar. The result is Autobiography – a record about life. We wanted to create something as emotive as possible, with the happy parts sounding ecstatic and the melancholic parts sounding as sad as possible. It might sound pretentious but that’s how life is."

So, it may be a bit of a vanity project, but it's very well done and is an amazing example of what an artist can do with the ukulele. Worth a listen if only for the intrigue of what can be done. Go to www.thewend.com to buy, or see Matt & Rob at a gig or festival near you.

1 track, 29 minutes.

1. Autobiography

Review - Simon Taylor, 10th June 2017

I wonder if this was done in one take?