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Published: 2012/09/06
by Sam Robertson

If I Am A Stranger, And I Love The Night

Landslide Records

Scrapomatic, a budding project of Tedeschi Trucks Band songwriter and backup vocalist Mike Mattison, finds Mattison fronting a comfortably bluesy band of his own. He partners with songwriter Paul Olsen in Scrapomatic, and the pair is supported by a full band who bring a rock and roll edge to their new album I’m A Stranger, And I Love The Night.

Despite being one of the principal lyricists for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Mattison is relatively under-utilized in the band, limited to supporting vocals behind Susan Tedeschi. Before the formation of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, he manned lead vocals in the Derek Trucks Band, and Scrapomatic finds him out in the front again. Scrapomatic is Mattison’s project, and his vocals are at the heart of the album.

The hot blues shuffle of “Alligator Love Cry” kicks off the album with plenty of energy as his voice slithers between sharp guitar licks. The catchy, sunny title track follows and finds his vocals taking on a more tender and relaxed texture. The band then takes things in a heavier direction with “Rat Trap” and “Night Trains And Distant Whistles.” Powered by a funky bassline, the slinking blues of “Night Trains And Distant Whistles” allows guitarist Dave Yoke to shine with searing solos.

I’m A Stranger, And I Love The Night finds Scrapomatic mixing Tedeschi Trucks Band-like bluesy rockers like “Night Trains And Distant Whistles” with a surprising amount of musical variety. The slow lounge jazz of “How Unfortunate For Me” is the most musically ambitious moment on the album, but Mattison manages to pull it off. Few singers can match the versatility of his voice, as he combines impressive range with the ability to jump between a bluesy howl, tender whisper, and falsetto wail.

Mattison snarls and growls his way through old school rocker “Mother Of My Wolf” before delivering a startling falsetto on the stiff blues funk of “Crimefighter,” sounding equally great on both. Another highlight, “Malibu,” follows and starts in an almost Ryan Adams & The Cardinals-like country rock vein before taking a sudden veer towards strutting soul. Scrapomatic may stick mostly to familiar bluesy rock but mix in enough tinges of soul, funk, country and gospel to keep things interesting and showcase Mattison as an outstanding and versatile singer.

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