I’ve watched the career of Reece Mastin with some interest since he burst onto the music scene through The X Factor in 2011. I always regarded him as one of our more interesting winners, a kid who seemed more at home taking on the classic rock of Aerosmith or subverting modern pop gems like “I Kissed a Girl” than making music for the masses. Yet when he took out the title he started to release the musical equivalent of McDonalds. It sold well – you can’t deny the appeal of his number one singles – but it was ultimately unsatisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder whether Reece was making the music he wanted to make or what the record company wanted him to do to appeal to tweens and teens.
2015 seems to be the dawn of a new age for Reece Mastin. He split with Sony and signed a deal with independent label Social Family Records. He enlisted soulful singer Mahalia Barnes as his manager and began hanging out with her dad and Aussie music royalty Jimmy Barnes. And he recorded Change Colours, which is the album I always knew he had in him.
The opening track “Lockdown” announces the new direction beautifully. The music hits hard; it’s an epic, emotional rock number with an old-school soul twist. Jimmy’s influence is obvious in songs like this, “Right Out of Me,” and “You Gotta Go,” which features Mr Barnes doing “backup vocals” as only Barnesy can. Songs like “You Could Be Wild” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore” show Reece still has a snack for creating a hit, but his heartfelt delivery gives them more emotional punch than his other commercial hits. You can tell he really believes in these songs. The sexy blues influenced “Caged Paradise” is another highlight. “Even Angels Cry” shows Reece at his most stripped back, and it’s wonderful. It’s already become a fan favourite, after being voted the next single by Reece’s Twitter fans. The final number and title track “Change Colours” is one of the album’s darkest songs and one of its quietest, but perhaps its most powerful.
Change Colours isn’t like the other Reece Mastin albums, and that’s exactly why it’s so special. It showcases the work of a young artist that is releasing music he believes in, perhaps for the first time. If you’ve dismissed him as just another reality show winner, it’s probably time to rethink your stance.
Change Colours hits stores on October 9. Reece will support its release with the following instores all around the country.
9 October 2015 – World Square, Sydney (5 pm)
10 October 2015 – Stockland Wetherill Park, Sydney (11 am)
11 October 2015 – The Pines, Doncaster East, Melbourne (10:30 am)
11 October 2015 – Stockland Wendouree, Ballarat (2 pm)
13 October 2015 – Brookfield Place, Perth (4 pm)
14 October 2015 – St Mary’s Sound, St Mary’s (4 pm)
15 October 2015 – Stockland Shellharbour, Wollongong (6 pm)
17 October 2015 – Stockland Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast (10:30 am)
17 October 2015 – Brookside Centre, Brisbane (2 pm)
18 October 2015 – Sanity Hinkler Central, Bundaberg (2:30 pm)