“Do you ever wonder who you’re losing it for”
No word of a lie, the promotional pictures (see below…) that accompanied Matt Doyle’s Uncontrolled album had no impact on my decision to review the album. I’d already tumbled hard for him in Private Romeo, so there. And as he starts off with a tenderly lovely version of Broadway standard ‘You Made Me Love You’, you might think that you’re in for a familiar journey through a collection of musical theatre hits.
You’re soon disabused of that notion with ‘Moment’, a track co-written by Doyle with Joel Huemann which aims squarely for the chart with its stadium-ready chorus and woo-ooo’s and the album’s predominantly filled with original material. He’s unafraid of a personal lyric or three, ‘When I Let You Go’ and ‘8’ feel particularly heartfelt here, and there’s also a sense of Doyle exploring the limits of his song-writing with his collaborators – ‘Fall For Me’ aims for a 50-ish vibe which is highly appealing and ‘Love Uncontrolled’ finds him in somewhere in the soulful part of the 70s.
I love the fact that there’s both a Sheryl Crow and an Alanis Morissette cover on here – a faithful take on ‘If You Make Me Happy’ works well but the interesting arrangement of ‘Mary Jane’ takes it to a new place, the clarity of his voice really opening out the song. And when the gaze goes a little further back in time, ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ mark pleasant, if not particularly earth-shattering, territory here – Doyle’s clean and clear vocal always exciting to listen to.
What’s remarkable about Uncontrolled as a whole though, is the way in which Doyle and creative partner Will Van Dyke weave together all these strands into a hugely satisfying, artistically cohesive whole. The final pair of tracks, both written by Doyle and Van Dyke, epitomise this musicality – the rueful but contemplative ‘What You Stole’ shines with melodious charm as in fades into its falsetto vocalising and ‘Home’’s mature balladry confirms the Broadway star he is and the pop star he could well be.