By Brendan Morley
Once Upon a Hell of a Time…
There are few left of the dying breed of true rock and rollers: inseparable from their craft, up all hours of the night, living out of guitar cases and hotels, and never settling.
Matt Mays is one of these people, and he confronts that lifestyle – and the weight it carries – head-on with the release of his deeply personal album Once Upon a Hell of a Time.
Don’t get us wrong, this is a party record. With the help of Wintersleep’s Loel Campbell, Mays has crafted an extensive 52-minute album of catchy, triumphant rock & roll anthems with no filler. Seriously. Campbell’s distinctive, weighty-yet- delicate drumming busts open the album and chugs along as its driving force, allowing for Mays’ slick and reverberated riffs to cut through and dance on top of the tunes.
The album is chock-full of dynamic breakdowns and fist pumping choruses championed by Mays’ powerful, howling voice. In a manner on par with Bruce Springsteen, Mays somehow takes dark themes of heartache, grief, change, and aging, and channels them into reflective and affirming feel-good rock & roll bangers.
In what can easily be held up as some of Mays’ greatest work to date, this album serves as well turned up loud on the way to the party as it does as the soundtrack to the next morning’s hangover.Matt Mays, Once Upon a Hell of a Time…, Sonic Records