In April 2014, Matt Cardle appeared at Shepherds Bush Empire for the big show of his Porcelain Tour. He had the bells and whistles of his full band with him and some glamour in the shape of Melanie C. The crowd sang Happy Birthday to his Dad & there was a party atmosphere of euphoria at having Matt back from rehab doing what he does best. It was quite a night for the fans who had stuck by Matt through his most difficult times and had frankly been worried sick about him. Full review HERE
Rolling forwards to April 2018, the band have not been seen since that tour and barring his appearance as Huey Calhoun in the West End production of Memphis, Matt has been happy to maintain a low profile. But now he’s back with fourth album, Time To Be Alive, which charts his descent into addiction, recovery to sobriety and finally his levelling out to a state of controlled enjoyment of life. The album cover depicts a baptism or rebirth to mark his return (in other words, someone flicked a bit of water at him). It also marks a change of direction with an atmospheric electronic sound produced in the main by Jim Eliot. I suspect that many fresh listeners will be pleasantly surprised with how catchy and contemporary these songs sound, which earned him renewed backing from Sony, whom he left after first album Letters. You certainly have to admire the resilience of character and bravery in spending so long committing to a new type of creativity and self development, and there are definitely many exquisite moments to savour.
The video for lead single Desire is the final part in the “Matt goes romping” trilogy – oh yes, he’s got form when it comes to this kind of thing! Firstly, there was Lately (Matt romps in the muck), then we had Loving You (Matt romps with Spice) and finally we’ve got Desire (Matt romps in red). He’s definitely back on the job, so to speak.
Personally I was a big admirer of the indie albums, The Fire and Porcelain, and the perfection of Seven Summers, Matt’s pre X Factor band. I hope Matt finds it in his heart to be inclusive of someone like myself by revisiting those excellent songs when he next tours with his band. He’s always been an outstanding performer and nothing beats the excitement of a live band. He could put together a very impressive set list now that really would sell his talents if he got out and toured a bit more widely.
Best of luck with the album Matt!