Matt Hurray

EssentiallyPop.com

We recently wrote about Matt Hurray’s new album, ‘Unnecessary Commentary’. Now we open the 10th door on our Essential Advent Calendar and find Matt behind it, with his surf-rock take on the José Feliciano classic, ‘Feliz Navidad’.

We don’t know about you, but ‘Feliz Navidad’ is one of those songs that earworms as soon as the very first note is heard. You only have to say the word, ‘Feliz’ and we’re off. Annoying as that track constantly playing in your head might become, it is certainly one of those songs which defines Christmas, and when we saw that Matt Hurray had recorded a surf-rock version of it, we knew it HAD to be made a part of our Essential Advent Calendar.

The track has everything you remember about the original, only without the lyrics, but we’re sure your brain will pop them back in regardless. It’s all about the steel strings and real rockabilly, old skool rock’n’roll sound (think of a blend between The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, and The Surfaris), and it’s guaranteed to have you hitting repeat all Christmas.

‘Feliz Navidad’, by Matt Hurray, is available from his website, as well as iTunes, and CD Baby. You can also stream it on Spotify. Find out more about Matt Hurray from his official website, Twitter, and Facebook.

dopeapproach.com

Right about now, there’s probably a lot of people who are missing out on the brilliance of Matt Hurray’s “Unnecessary Commentary” – the instrumental album which draws upon the finest surf rock sounds and is long enough for you to play without skipping it pretty much anywhere – from your car to your house, office or even walking down the street while listening to it on your headphones, just chilling…

The whole album is special. It’s pretty much a mysterious and uplifting journey that perhaps should be called the “Matt Hurray’s Experience” instead … Now there’s a gig I’d pay for!

 It seems that the surf rock revival is real, as I’ve heard one or two stand out albums in the last couple of months, but “Unnecessary Commentary” is without a doubt the most polished and articulate out of them all.

 The first thought that springs to mind is ‘electrifying’. Each song blends with the next, like an ocean wave dissolving into the next wave, it’s like a continuous loop of cool surf rock music. I can even see other genre lovers getting into this as well, people who are not usually into this kind of music will also appreciate the quality, energy and the instrumental narrative of it.

 The full album is 18 tracks long, it is fast-paced, sharp and melodically mind blowing as the listener is able to go through the full spectrum of emotions while listening to it and it keeps you in a sort of trance most of the time. It’s really great to dissolve any negative energies or moods as there’s something so elusive about it which can’t quite be pinpointed but is physically energizing… I kid you not…  It’s like I just downed a whole can of red-bull in one go and now I’m ready to fly… strange much!? Try it for yourself and see what I mean.

 A great find which we definitely recommend as there’s never a dull moment in it, it rips as soon as you press play and it doesn’t stop until it’s finished. Must be insane to watch live too and If I tell the truth – I rolled up little joint to it, as it would be too rude not to. Not saying you should do the same, but these are some serious surf vibes that must be honored. Grab your friends, a boombox, go the beach at sunset, light a fire and enjoy each other’s company while listening to “Unnecessary Commentary” – you can’t go wrong with that!

www.audiosteez.com

“Unnecessary Commentary” is a creative and bold independent release which features no vocals whatsoever as it is purely driven by genius instrumentalism and love for surf rock music. Seriously, we doubt you’ll hear a much better instrumental compilation than this one! The album comprises 18 feel good songs, all written, performed, and recorded between the winter of 2013 and the spring of 2016 and released on July 29th, 2016.

Released earlier in the summer, “Unnecessary Commentary” is the second surf rock album from far-sighted composer/guitarist Matt Hurray who is accompanied by Jim Rice (Additional Guitars), Peter Freiberger (Bass Guitar), Gary Ferguson (Drums), Danny Timms (Keyboards) and Gary Brandin (Steel Guitar) and additional guest musicians Chris Cruttenden (Ukulele on June Solstice) and Ron Finn (Additional Guitar on Corduroy).

We must say that it really is a great experience listening to it – It’s uplifting, nurturing and vintage. Blending timeless guitars with hypnotic drums, Matt has created an original, natural sounding album full of great and inspiring moments!

It starts with the complex “El Rollo” – An edgy and witty intro which sets the pace for the rest of the album, followed by the cheeky “Corduroy” and the stylish “Black Sand Tan”. “Unnecessary Commentary” continues to flow with “June Solstice” and it evolves thereafter into a rather amazing and solid project. All the tracks have great texture and the sounds are rich, making it easy for the listener to just sit back and appreciate it, especially as each track is outdone by the next, it gets better with each play!

What we most like about it, is that it proves to be a rousing showcase of the artist’s talent, delivered with tangible passion and performed with amazing technique. We had high expectations for it, as it’s not every day that we get to listen and review a surf rock instrumental album, but it needs to be said – Matt Hurray more than met these expectations, he surpassed them with this thoughtful and wonder-filled masterpiece. We hope you guys feel the same, have a listen...

Blatant Misrep

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the day, other than by listening to the energizing and invigorating sounds of Matt Hurray’s eclectic surf rock instrumental album “Unnecessary Commentary”.

There’s so much to be said about this body of work and we don’t even know where to start… The perfect album to have on your mp3 player, iTunes, Soundcloud playlist etc… It’s also great to have in the house and in your car as the whole “Unnecessary Commentary” is an experience to be cherished.

Peaking at 18 tracks, it does all kind of wonders to the body, mind and soul as it transmits a tranquility and sense of joy which I can’t quite grasp or describe. It really makes me feel good and optimistic for no reason?

As we sat here listening to the whole album, from the beginning till the end, I found myself without a single worry in the world and came to the conclusion that this is what the world needs… This album could really change this damn world for the better if we could get everyone to hear it! I stand by this.

The album shreds from the get go, opening with the fast paced “El Rollo”, a vibrant, riotous single which (for some odd reason) brought back nostalgic memories of my days of youth watching “Pulp fiction” with friends, just having fun…  Quickly followed by the catchy “Corduroy”, a track in which guest musician Ron Finn also features (additional guitar), and then the more dreamy and escapist “Black Sand Tan”.

By the time you get to “June Solstice” and “7th Street” the album blueprint is already set and it develops into a cohesive, well expressed and immaculately played full length album which doesn’t have many bad points, if any whatsoever…

Of course something like this takes a lot of effort to accomplish and it perhaps couldn’t have been done without the help of fellow musicians Jim Rice (Additional Guitars), Peter Freiberger (Bass Guitar), Gary Ferguson (Drums), Danny Timms (Keyboards) and Gary Brandin (Steel Guitar), Chris Cruttenden (Ukulele on June Solstice) and Ron Finn (Additional Guitar on Corduroy), who all contributed with their talents towards the making of this epic surf rock instrumental album.

One of the stand out tracks has to be “One Day Away”, a track which deviates a bit from the classic surf rock and boasts a bit more of an acoustic folk sound but still manages to capture the imagination and soul of the listener. The spicy “The North Swell” and “Todos Santos” had me grabbing my girlfriend for a dance and by the time we were down I had to sit down and take a break…

All in all, this is a fantastic album that can be played anywhere, anytime and its effect would pretty much be the same. It’s soothing and electrifying all at the same time, you don’t know whether to get up and dance or to sit down and “trip”. A superb effort from the very talented Matt Hurray, we give “Unnecessary Commentary” a well-deserved 4.5* out of 5*

EssentiallyPop.com

It’s taken nearly three years, but Matt Hurray has finally released his 18 track album, ‘Unnecessary Commentary’ – his second surf rock album after his 2012 album, ‘Egyptian Surfer’.

From the first song, ‘El Rollo’, you know this is going to be a compelling album. Hurray has found inspiration in the sixties surf music of bands like The Surfaris, the Tornadoes, The Ventures, and so on.

The genre is noted for its particular guitar style, and was made popular in Orange County and Southern California. It’s seen a revival in recent years, and this should serve Hurray well as he performs live throughout 2017 across the United States. His flowing guitar melodies carry with them the authentic surf rock feel, and he’s also taken his cues from the arrangements of artists such as Jack Johnson.

Find out more about Matt Hurray online on his official website (www.matthurray.com), Twitter (@matt_hurray), and Facebook (Matt Hurray). ‘Unnecessary Commentary’, as well as ‘Egyptian Surfer’, is available from iTunes, and CD Baby.

Lisa Hafey

View all posts by Lisa Hafey →

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, and Celebmix. Nowadays, in addition to writing for and editing Essentially Pop, she also writes video reviews for Listen On Repeat.  Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Brendan B Brown (Wheatus) and Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more.

Flavour Mag

From late 2013 to mid 2016, Matt Hurray has spent his time writing and recording his new 18-track project entitled ‘Unnecessary Commentary’ – a multi-faceted collection of intricate instrumental tracks.

Accompanied by an assortment of other talented musicians, Matt sources inspiration from bands such as The Surfaris and artists such as Jack Johnson when arranging the music, which comes across through the flowing guitar melodies and authentic surf rock feel.

Matt will be performing live throughout 2017 in select cities across the United States.  Information about upcoming live shows and about the new album can be found on his social media pages and official website.

Matt Hurray Official Website | Instagram Soundcloud 

The Rock And Roll Report

Back in 2012, California-based guitarist Matt Hurray released his debut solo release entitled Egyptian Surfer. That album found Hurray creating songs that featured a strong Surf Rock sound. But the album also contained many other influences that gave the release a very wide array of sounds. The ever-changing style of music made Egyptian Surfer a strong release.

Now, Matt Hurray has returned with a new release of original music. And while the focus of the music is once again on Surf Rock, Hurray’s new release is just as varied as his debut release. Hurray’s new album is entitled Unnecessary Commentary.

Right from the beginning, Unnecessary Commentary from Matt Hurray features his Surf Rock style of playing. The first track of “El Rollo” finds Hurray and his band creating a song that contains a strong vibe that will remind you of the music from the band The Ventures. “El Rollo” would fit in well with instrumental Surf Rock from the sixties.

With the track “Corduroy,” the band switches things up by changing directions slightly. While the track does contain some Surf Rock influence, there isn’t much of it in the track. What is included in the track is Rock and Roll that would be found in the seventies or early eighties. The track would fit in more with artists like The Cars or Devo. The music of “Corduroy” is a lot more straight-out Rock and Roll than it is Surf Rock.

On the song “Black Sand Tan,” Matt Hurray and his band change directions even more. Gone is the Surf Rock influence as they add a lot of Jazz-inspired influence to the song. The electric guitars from Hurray and Jim Rice, as well as the organ from Danny Timms help to make the track of “Black Sand Tan” sound like a Smooth Jazz track.

The energy level of the music is brought back up on the song “June Solstice”. But instead of containing the usual style of Surf Rock, the song takes on a much more island-flavored sound. The playing of steel guitarist Gary Brandin and the ukulele from Chris Cruttenden helps to create that island flavor in the music. Think “Jimmy Buffet-meets-The Ventures”.

One of the most unusual tracks on Unnecessary Commentary from Matt Hurray is the song “Sunset Girl”. With the inclusion of the steel guitar from Gary Brandin, the track contains a definite vibe from the duo of Santo and Johnny. But the music also seems to contain a certain amount of Roots Rock influence from the likes of Buddy Holly. The two influences are very dominant on the song, but neither of those influences seems to overwhelm the other. Together, the two styles combine on the track to create a song that feels as if it should have been created back in the fifties. However, it still is one of the best tracks on the new release from Matt Hurray.

Although there is plenty of Surf Rock influence contained within the new release from Matt Hurray, he also has included plenty of Jazz influence on his new album. The song “One day Away” finds Hurray trading his electric guitar for a classical one. The acoustic feel of the classical guitar in the Jazz on the track gives the song a different feel than the vast majority of the tracks on the release. The playing by Matt Hurray on the song also shows off his range as a musician.

With a title like “The North Swell,” you would assume that a song would simply ooze the sound and style of Surf Rock. But, ironically enough, that is really not the case with this track. While there is some Surf Rock influence in the music, the song feels more like a straight-out instrumental rock track from the sixties. The unmistakable sixties influence comes from the psychedelic flavor that comes through in the music. While not really Surf Rock, “The North Swell” is still a strong track that brings to mind the music of an earlier time.

Like several other tracks on his new album, Matt Hurray’s song of “Chillin’” contains a Jazz influence rather than a Surf Rock influence. So much so, that “Chillin’” would easily fit on any Smooth Jazz radio format. The music of the track somes to life with the help of Gary Brandin whose steel guitar shines through as the strongest instrument on the track. “Chillin’” ends up being one of the strongest and most infectious tracks on the album.

The new release from Matt Hurray entitled Unnecessary Commentary is an album that is overflowing with eighteen tracks. Each and every one of them is a track that is sure to catch your interest. While Hurray’s influences from the likes of The Ventures or Dick Dale do come through in Matt Hurray’s playing, each song is definitely his own. And with the inclusion of other styles mixed in with the dominant Surf Rock influence, Unnecessary Commentary from Matt Hurray is a well-rounded release with something for nearly every taste.

Rare Victory Social Media

If you've ever wondered what distinguishes one surf rock collection from another, get your hands on this disc immediately.  "Unnecessary Commentary" is both distinctive and infectious. Yes, all tracks are sans vocals but don't let that deter you from exploring the aural confections offered by Matt Hurray and his band. The various Fender guitars on display here form a language in themselves.

The endless variety combined with the flowing guitar melodies and some creative arrangements make this one of the best surf records you'll hear for long time.  The vibe is authentic - whether evoking images of bright Summer mornings in leafy suburbia, or a sunset slowly extinguished as gentle waves lick the shoreline.  

From the start you'll find yourself surrendering to the rich, lilting instrumentation. "Shoot the Pier" is an exuberant, propulsive number that recalls classic 80's surf rock from California bands like Jon and the Nightriders or the Surf Raiders. "The North Swell" unfurls a driving rhythm that will have you heading for the shore in no time.  "Sunset Girl" and the enticing "Gin and Tonics" will remind you how good life can be when the right elements blend into a seamless, sensational vibe.

The loose, stripped down nature of "Black Sand Tan" and the breezy acoustic guitars of "Todos Santos" give the collection a depth not normally found on surf rock releases.
Jim Rice's production throughout is impeccable.  Most of the record's sonic elements hit all the right areas of the brain, transporting you to windswept cliffs and Pacific Ocean vistas.  I found that the images and overall sensations stay with you long after the music stops.

A tonic for times, Matt Hurray locates himself at the nexus of musical talent, vintage style, and a cheeky ebullience that marks this uplifting, engaging collection of surf instrumentals. It's fun, life-affirming and addictive.  You'll want to share it with your friends. In fact, they might even buy you a round at "Snug Harbor" as a thank you.

Music Street Journal

Unnecessary Commentary Review

This rocking album lands in the surf guitar territory. It's a strong set of particular interest to fans of groups like The Ventures. This disc is instrumental and quite entertaining.

Track by Track Review 

El Rollo:  I love the surf guitar melodies on this number. The more modern elements to the backdrop creates an intriguing blend of sounds.

Corduroy:  The basic concept here is similar, but this is perhaps closer to the old school surf music concepts.

Black Sand Tan:  Now, the sounds that open this are clearly tied to both fusion and prog music. The song takes on more of an electronic element as it moves forward, but it really does have a lot of fusion built into it.

June Solstice:  Starting with a mellower section, this works out to some great music from there.

7th Street:  A bit higher energy and rocking, this is definitely closer to the kind of stuff The Ventures always did. That said, there is a bit of a modern edge here. Additionally there are some bits of progginess to be found.

Feel Good:  Now, this clearly lands more in the vein of pure Ventures type music.

Sunset Girl:  There is a healthy dosage of country sound in this number. It's another classy piece of music for sure.

One Day Away:  A mellower piece, this has a great flow to it. There is definitely some jazz built into this piece.

Late Start:  I love the flow and groove of this piece of music.

Ponch and Juan:  Somehow this makes me think of the music to "The Munsters" a bit, but mixed with more Ventures. I think this is one of my favorites here.

Hanalei Bay:  There is a cool Hawaiian vibe to this number. Yet it has a mainstream rock element, too. It's another strong piece on a disc that's full of strong music.

The North Swell:  Now, this one really feels like The Ventures. It's high energy and very classy stuff.

Shoot the Pier:  Another driving rocker, this is solid. It's also not really "samey."

Chillin':  This really does feel like "Chllin'." It has a real jazzy element to it. It's a tasteful number that's quite effective.

Todos Santos:  Although there are no huge changes here, this is another strong cut.

Gin and Tonics:  I dig this musical groove quite a bit.

Snug Harbor:  Here we get more of a high energy tune. I love the guitar soloing on this one. It really takes me back to the days of The Ventures.

Tandem:  The closer is a fun, energized surf rocker that works well.

 

Rock Therapy Radio (Leon, Spain)

When you see the cover of the second big disc of Matt Hurray you know by intuition that you are before a disc worthy of the Pimps of Surf Revival, and when you submerge yourself into the grooves of the 18 waves that are within, there is already no doubt.

Unnecessary Commentary is an adult album with a clean and crystal-clear instrumentation with beautiful and elegant melodies that transport us to the most diverse atmospheres. Some pieces would have been perfect soundtrack material for the TV shows of the 70's and 80’s while others are the perfect music to roll on lost coastal highways, which demonstrates the musical culture of this California musician.  The songs June Solstice, Corduroy, One Day Away and Todos Santos shine with their own light and are a clear example of what has to be the “Revival Instro” sound. 

This may be an “unnecessary commentary” (making a pun on the title of the disc) but for all of the great sounds provided, the only negative could be the linear bass, lacking nuances on a couple tracks.  In any case this is a very well done “Instro-Surf” release that transmits honesty and goodness, and that is indispensable on the shelf of any collector of the instrumental sound!