Everything about Matthew Curran’s Simplify is askew. First off, the album packaging isn’t simple at all: it is inexplicably DVD-shaped. It’s inexplicable because the art and liner notes would have fit inside a regular CD’s packaging; the rest of the art is taken up by neutral black space.
I was excited to hear Matthew Curran billed as the youngest guitarist ever sponsored by Gibson. The promise of excellent music was enough to make me overlook the peculiar album art. Unfortunately, the songs don’t redeem the visual aesthetics.
Curran may be a guitar master, but shreddin’ solos an album does not make. His modern blues/rock/funk songwriting is average and feels primarily like a vehicle for his guitar licks. The rest of the instruments and the vocals follow suit. They’re not terrible, but they’re nothing to build an album around. Matthew Curran’s substantial riffing talents lend easily to being lead guitarist in a band instead of being a solo act. His chops are admirable, but they’re not substantial enough to keep interest for an entire seven-song EP.