Album review: Matt Costa, Matt Costa 

Matt Costa has done pretty well for a SoCal skater who started writing tunes while being laid up with an injured leg. Over the last decade, the now 30-year-old Huntington Beach-based singer-songwriter has unleashed a trio of independent releases (two EPs and an LP), and shared stages with the likes of Modest Mouse, Ryan Adams, and even Oasis. He signed with Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records in 2005, and the label re-released that aforementioned LP as well as two more full-lengths and another EP in November preceding the release his self-titled fourth, which finds his charming, nasally, lazy drawl more confident that it's ever been.

Costa can credit his increased self-assurance to songs like the epic ballad “Silver Sea,” accordion-kissed “Ophelia,” and album highlight “Good Times,” where a sad tale of desperately empty wallets gets jollied up with barroom piano, pompous kick drums, and inebriated horns. Costa even throws in some slack key and doo-wop (“Shotgun”), a pair of slow-burners (“Early November,” “Eyes For You”), and sweetly-sung, string-laden rockers (“Loving You”). It’s a quick half-hour of music as eclectic as the man himself and certainly sets the stage for at least another decade of promising tunes. (Brushfire Records)

Critics' Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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