It’s a cliché. The hard second album. The weight of following-up, evolving, justifying. All that angst and self-doubt and second-guessing that chokes the creative spirit. Or not… “I actually think this is the start of me really having fun with music.” If anyone deserves to break the shackles and enjoy the moment, it’s multi-platinum-selling musician Matt Corby. For a decade, Corby has been pushing his own boundaries, embracing a journey of self discovery that’s seen him wrestle a few pre-conceptions and stare down his share of demons. Now, with two ARIA Song of the Year awards on the shelf, and a #1 debut album, Telluric, behind him, Corby can genuinely lay claim to some hard-earned perspective. “I think, in a really good way, I have stopped caring quite so much,” he says. “I don’t mean about the quality of what I am creating, but about that seriousness, about having to prove I can write a song in a clever way or perform a song in a way that makes people feel good. I can trust my instinct a little now and go with it.” None of which is to suggest Corby’s new album, Rainbow Valley, isn’t clever or prone to making people feel good. It is both, and then some. Written and recorded in a period that also saw the birth of his first child, Corby’s second full-length release is brimming with a new-found vitality and joy, a fresh energy that finds perfect expression in a kaleidoscopic reimagining of the sound he has honed for the last ten years. From the surreal, dreamlike splendour of first single “No Ordinary Life” – which was met with worldwide acclaim and high-rotation on triple j – to the soulful majesty of the title track, Rainbow Valley reveals an artist who seems both more aware of what he wants and why he wants it. “When I found out I was going to be a father, it helped me get my head together,” Corby says. “And as part of that, I was able to set aside a lot of weird hang ups I used to have, personally and selfishly, about making music. So, when it came to writing, I found I could be less stubborn, more open minded to going in new musical directions.” In exploring new directions, Corby has not forgotten his past. Like Telluric before it, much of the creative momentum behind Rainbow Valley was born from jam sessions with old friend and long-time artistic foil Alex Henriksson. “I do most my experimenting, jamming, songwriting, fun sort of stuff with him,” says Corby of Henriksson. “He’s co-writer of two songs on the record (“Get With The Times” and “Rainbow Valley”), but a lot comes from what we did together. We hang out and try all kinds of stuff until we find something that we can grow to sound good, and because we know each other so well, we can push the boundaries a lot with those ideas.” Buoyed by a boatload of inspiration from those creative sessions, earlier this year Corby retired to the idyllic surroundings of Byron Bay’s Music Farm studios to begin work on the album proper. As he had with Telluric, Corby once again enlisted the help of producer Dann Hume (Amy Shark, Client Liason) and engineer Matthew Neighbour (Avalanches, Missy Higgins). Everything else, he took care of himself. “I play and sing every part on the album, again,” he says. “Working like that meant we could really develop ideas quickly – when I want it to feel a certain way, I know five things I can do on six instruments that could potentially create that, and so we just go through them all.” The results speak for themselves. Lush, multi-textured and sparked by hints of both old soul and futuristic psychedelia, Rainbow Valley is, in Corby’s words “joyous music”, but it also has the depth and perspective of an artist who understands you can’t just take the good times for granted, you have to earn them. “We definitely tried to be wary of that,” says Corby. “The more joyous you go with anything, the more you need to have all your bases covered, and then the content of what you're actually talking about becomes very crucial.” The core theme running through Rainbow Valley certainly lives up to that ideal. From the early lines of slow-burning opener “Light My Dart Up”, with its suggestion that what really matters is, “The way you see yourself in everyday”, the new album translates elements of Corby’s personal journey into
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