It's easy to forget that the Mattson 2 -- the identical-twin-brother, surf-jazz duo -- hail from right here in San Diego. After all, Jared and Jonathan ascended through the local scene and beyond largely unassisted.
Since 2003, they've become worldwide touring veterans, collaborated with Chaz Bundick (aka Toro y Moi) on an under-loved 2017 chillwave-jazz album titled "Star Stuff," released a critically acclaimed reinterpretation of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" just last year, and eventually signed to Bundick's label, Company Records, for their latest studio full-length "Paradise." [Buy it/listen to it here]
To their credit, the sandy-haired brothers have done it all to the beat of their own snazzy drum. While San Diegans are lucky to be able to catch their local performances semi-regularly (find them at the Belly Up on Thursday, June 20), they're still criminally underappreciated here in town. Perhaps the group's stellar new studio album (their eighth) will change that.
Described by the duo as "a record to throw a frisbee to," "Paradise" is everything you'd think that'd entail -- and more. For the first time in their recorded history, the Mattsons have added their own lyrics and vocals (a soothing, warm tone reminiscent of a young, stoned David Gilmour) to the fluttering, surf-soaked mix.
While they more than know their way around easy-listening jazz rhythms and noodly lead runs, the new album arrives even tighter, more memorable and moodier than ever -- with Jonathan's drumming nearly bouncing out of the mix, Jared's guitar work surgically hitting melody after melody, and the accompanying sung verses/choruses lending more of a traditional pop vibe to its nine tracks. Embued with a tranquil, relaxed undercurrent of psychedelia, "Paradise" is an inviting, effortless listen.
With two musicians used to performing entirely instrumentally (which typically lends itself to a bit of overindulgence), the album is anything but showy. The whole thing is a supremely laid-back and groovy affair as it whisks from one sunkissed song to another.
Clocking in at a smidge over 30 minutes, the Mattson 2 give you just enough time to forget your worries, throw a batch of margs together, and dwift away. If there's a record better suited for a lazy afternoon in the sun this summer than "Paradise," I don't know what it is.