Uncontrolled is a fabulous album from Matt Doyle with a mixture of original songs and covers of classics like If It Makes You Happy and Me and Bobby McGee.
It opens with the truly delightful cover of You Made Me Love You, made famous by the late great Judy Garland and sung by Doyle in the film Private Romeo in which he stars and where I first came across him.
Doyle has a beautiful voice capable of soft and sultry ballads like the aforementioned Garland classic but also with a powerful range which extends magnificently on his original track Moment – which has been released as the album’s first single complete with gorgeous YouTube video.
This is his debut full length album, there’s been a couple of EPs before this and it really is a killer providing a perfect introduction to this genuine Broadway talent. It would have been easy to take a show tunes route for this album.
Doyle has, after all starred in the original production of Spring Awakening, as well as other top hits including The Book of Mormon, War Horse and is to appear later this year as Tony in the latest production of West Side Story, and he was originally offered an album doing so.
Instead there is a mixture of self-penned (along with collaborators Will Van Dyke, Joel Huemann, Tina Parole and Jason Gantt) and covers from mainly female vocalists including the previously mentioned Sheryl Crow and Janis Joplin (written by Kristofferson and Foster) numbers, and it’s an exploration of personal pains and triumphs. The arrangements are also by Van Dyke and the album’s been expertly produced by Van Dyke and Derik Lee.
And, speaking of Joplin, the band and Doyle cut loose on Me and Bobby McGee taking it out of its folksy roots and firmly into full on bluesy rock with wailing guitars, a full-throated vocal tour de force.
There’s also a cover of one of Alanis Morissette’s less often performed numbers, Mary Jane from the Jagged Little Pill album and here Doyle adds a different vibe to the original with a softer vocal which is at times a touch more more plaintive than Morissette’s harsher and more angry performance.
Love Uncontrolled is sultry and seductive, it’s a shot of neat single malt whisky (preferably a Talisker or Lagavulin) in front of a roaring fire snuggled up with your loved one and it partners up quite beautifully with my current favourite track What You Stole.
This is a gem of a number which has a slow jazzy blues feeling that would be perfect for a late night slow dance in some smoky club with someone you know is going to break your heart but you just don’t care because you’re in a perfect moment right then.
One of the other outstanding tracks is When I Let You Go, a soaring ballad which speaks of the loss of love and which Doyle has said was in part influenced by his break up with long time partner, fellow Broadway performer Ryan Steele.
The vocal on this is raw in its intensity, accompanied by strings and piano, but also heartbreakingly soft and emotional.
In contrast, Fall for Me harks back to the 50s with big beats and a rock ‘n’ roll swinging feel which is a real earworm of a song and could easily have been on a Buddy Holly or Eddie Cochran vinyl back in the day.
8 is a fabulous and funky upbeat poppy number all about surviving and getting back on your feet with a ridiculously catchy chorus.
Of the covers, my favourite is Doyle’s version of Adele’s stripped down version of the Bob Dylan classic Make You Feel My Love which is a heartfelt plea to that fickle emotional which makes people do the most extraordinary things.
I Remember You is another original with a driving beat that harkens back to the bass-heavy soft rock 1980s of my teenage years when love tended to be a fumbling kiss at the back of the school hall and a perpetual disappointment of broken dreams.
And the album finishes off with Home, orchestral and beautiful, with strings and a bass section playing off each other while Doyle’s voice ranges from the sweetest soft lullaby through to a triumphal crescendo.
If you’ve never heard of Doyle then do your ears a favour and check out this album, you won’t be disappointed.
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YM3rab