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March 29, 2023

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The Volunteers (Jade Tree Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Former Far front man Jonah Matranga has come along way from the lo-fi indie-pop of his debut Onelinedrawing release, Sketcy EP #1. On his latest, The Volunteers, Matranga realizes a bigger plan for Onelinedrawing, coming full-circle and delivering a record that still retains the lo-fi intimacy and directness of the early recordings, brimming with emotions as Matranga lets you into his world, if only for the duration of the album. But it's enough to get the opinion that you're getting to know him a wee little better. Musically, he still patterns his songs around the light, stripped-down approach of the early recordings. Though, this time around the recordings are more dynamic, the melodies tighter, and the album more fierce in its presentation, as he uses layers and adds additional instrumentation to fill out the songs, without disconnecting the listener - or allowing the layers and added tracks to take over the songs. Which is how, and why Matranga is still able to connect with his listeners in such an honest, real way, something I hope he never loses touch with. He has now grown to creating beautifully rich, delicate, sparkling indie-rock that doesn't lose sight of its pop ambitions. I'll give it a B+.
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