Matt Charles
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Matt Charles

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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" Rootstime reviews Java Tsunami Album"

The Belgium based 'Rootstime' music site has just printed a review of "Java Tsunmi" at
The review is in Dutch (See here:, so I've included a 'rough' web-translation to English ;) Cheers//matt

>>> "Java Tsunami" by Matt Charles <<<

Due to circumstances, this CD has been lying on my office desk for quite some time and Matt Charles had to exercise some patience to read our findings. Maybe he didn't expect our review any longer, but even if it took a little time, due to a growing waiting list for the moment, I finally managed to do it.

Matt Charles is from Tasmania, which is all the way at the other end of the planet for us. Because there is so much nature and so little "occupied" world, it also means there a very small audience for his music. Like many musicians from Australia and New Zealand for instance, he moved. Very close to us as a matter of fact, Hamburg in Germany is now where he’s operating from.

First and foremost, I must say that this is a very strong debut and a strong singer-songwriter, roots-rock album, full of honest, powerful songs. This group rocks....they are friends for years, and the performances radiate the fun they are having.

"Sacred Heart", is a song where the tension builds up and it shines like a little jewel. A song that grows on you with every listen. "I Will Not Break You" floats on a hypnotic beat, while "Ashes" slowly reveals the dark melody slowly around the text. "Don’t Kiss Me" is equally intriguing; here is a strong songwriter at work. Assisted by the sheer force of his band, and especially by guitarist Andrew Gatenby, who is an additional asset to this really strong record.

You notice when you carefully listen to this album, Matt is a real "song smith". He proposes and weighs every word and then brings them together like pieces of the puzzle, or better said, he's like a craftsman creating a colourful, beautiful mosaic of sounds.

Music and text never get in the way of each other, which almost creates perfection. "Rain Fall" comes close to the early work of Springsteen. Timeless, universal themes, with real world folk and blues influences intertwined with a solid rock tinged sound. It must be clear that we are more than satisfied with this first release of Matt Charles.

A palette full of light and shadow, hope and truth, sometimes dark, sometimes dazzlingly enthusiastic. Before he moved to Hamburg he lived in Hobart and Fremantle, which also have major ports, so he feels at home..... Next stop Antwerp? A beauty of a port, Matt! It seems he has already begun working on a "Java Tsunami" successor: "Cosa Nostra". We are very curious, and one thing is certain: we will not keep him waiting again this time when he sends us that Album, that's a promise! (RON/ -


2002 "Java Tsunami" - 10 Track Album, recorded in Hobart, Tasmania with Full Band.

2008 "Cosa Nostra" - 6 track EP, recorded in Hobart, Tasmania with Full Band. Prelude to new Album.



Matt Charles is old school – no fads, no fashion.

The Tasmanian-born singer songwriter's debut album, Java Tsunami, chases down a classic rock sound that's fueled with honest and achingly powerful songs.

Steeped in the rock sensibility of his musical heroes, the album's lean and tight arrangements add weight and depth to Charles' writing, while inspired playing from lead guitarist Andrew Gatenby adds just the right amount of muscle.

The band rocks; all are old friends, they're having a good time and it shows. They help make songs like Sacred Heart gleam and shimmer, while Ashes, with its seductive rhythm and understated melody twists around the lyrics to help draw out the song's dark truth.

For Charles, writing the album and arranging it with a band was a chance to 'stir the pot' and see how the songs came out.

"I love trying to distil a musical idea to capture that intangible quality you could call life," he says. "And the band blew me away with their power in helping me reach that.

But, he says, an equally vital ingredient to his songwriting is the audience itself.

"I want them to meet me half way," he says. "We're all on the same journey here; and we all have similar hopes and dreams, so when people listen to my music I hope there's something there everyone can identify with and carry with them.

"When I recorded Java I saw the songs as something to be left for others to read down the road. If you come across them it'll give you a window into what I was feeling at the time...a little bit anyway.

"Kind of like a tombstone," he adds wryly.

Java Tsunami is music that's honest and clear, in the way that neither the music nor the lyric gets in the way of the other. Its themes are universal, and tips its hat to the tradition of folk and blues, where life, love and loss strikes the chord in each of us, regardless of what musical fashion dictates.

As something of a 'true believer' in the folk and blues idiom, Charles has taken to wandering.

From home town Hobart in Australia's south, through the majesty of northern Australia and down to the port town of Fremantle on the west coast, he now finds himself in Hamburg Germany drawn by the town's rich musical heritage, not least being its connection to The Beatles.

"The fact that I can walk these streets and hear the ghost of music past is a real inspiration for me," he enthuses.

"I'm drawn to port towns. Hamburg, Hobart and Fremantle, they're all working ports, and I'm right at home here."

"With Java there's not a word that I haven't twisted round or questioned its existence", he says laughing.

"And being quite away from home gives me the distance to look at those songs in a new light. I'm really enjoying playing them live and acoustic'" he says.

"It's taking them back to their beginning, and to me that's about uncovering their essence. I still feel like I'm discovering something new in them each time I play."

Charles has a bunch of new tunes he's added to his live set, and is happy to say they're being well received by his audience. He's laid some of them down at Red Planet Recording in Hobart as part of his upcoming 'Cosa Nostra' album and you can hear a few of them at his MySpace site (

In the meantime, Java Tsunami is a rich seam of light and shade, a song set that is uplifting and hopeful, dark and truthful. It's a conversation Charles invites you to join – come in and sit down for a while.

[Rob McGlynn – Freelance Journalist]