Thursday Thive: Jonah Matranga

Posted on November 7, 2013

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As with pretty much everyone, my music tastes expanded during my late teens. I started paying more attention to the bands that the bands I liked talked of as their influences, and was exposed to a much more exciting world than the one I was aware of previously. There was one band that Deftones seemed to mention a lot, and that was a band called Far. I bought ‘Water and Solutions’, and holy heck I fell in love. I remember listening to the album on the train back from Birmingham, and absolutely every song blew me away.

They were fronted by a man called Jonah Matranga, and I soon found out that this guy had a humongous back catalogue. So, naturally, I bought everything he was involved with that I could find. I eventually saw the man play live in Wolverhampton, and to this day he’s the only person I’ve actively sought out for a photograph. He’s been a part of almost 30 EPs and albums, so this has been a bit of a struggle. Either way, here’s the thive.

5: ‘Man Overboard’ (Water and Solutions)
I still say ‘Water and Solutions’ is the best album Matranga has played on. From start to finish, the thing is gloriously consistent, wonderful song after wonderful song. Deciding a favourite on the album is tough, always has been tough. Once upon a time it was ‘Really Here’, then it was ‘Mother Mary’, then ‘Nestle’. In actual fact, the best song on the album is ‘Man Overboard’. Everything that is great about this album is on this song.

4: ‘Hostage’ (Thriller)
New End Original only made a single album, but it is as good a pop rock album as you could ever wish to hear. Songs like ‘Lukewarm’ and ’14-41′ are blissfully perfect pop rock, but it is the albums darker moments that really shine through. ‘Leper Song’ is a gorgeous piano and vocal number, but it is ‘Hostage’ that really stands out. Some sublime drumming opens it up, and its all gently picked guitar and tentative vocals. Before you know it, the whole thing has built to a violent climax, with Mr Matranga wailing ‘back off or someone will die.’ The story of a hostage taking has never been so melodic.

3: ‘We Had A Deal’ (The Volunteers)
This was the first song that surfaced from the second full length onelinedrawing album, and for fans of Far who missed Jonah’s more rock-centric stuff it was blissful listening. How this song didn’t shit all over radio I don’t know. I can’t really see how anyone who likes pop rock can’t adore this song. It’s the best Jimmy Eat World song they’ve never written. It’s a joy from start to finish.

2: ‘Yr Letter’ (Visitor)
The best acoustic Jonah Matranga song, hands down. It would certainly be up there in terms of acoustic songs full stop. Sure, it peddles the oft-peddled road of lost love and longing, but the added story trope of to read or not to read a letter gives it an extra element of fragility. Everything fits in perfectly, a luscious chorus and a strange sort of, late at night candlelit sadness.

1: ‘Job’s Eyes’ (Tin Cans with Strings to You)
The best song that Jonah Matranga has ever played on is also quite possibly the least Jonah of the lot. The centrepiece of Far’s first full length album, ‘Job’s Eyes’ is as dark and brooding as anything Deftones have ever put out. A seven minute animal that snakes through phase after phase after phase, the story of Job from t’bible is told beautifully. The whole thing hits an emotional apex with the off-microphone scream of ‘I’ll buy it’ that really did define an entire album. This is Jonah’s apex lyrically, musically, emotionally, and all those other adjectives that end with -ally. Stunning.

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Posted in: Thursday Thive