In the half-decade since his last album, Australian native Matt Corby unexpectedly embarked on a journey of personal growth that put his fortitude to the test. Thrown off course by a global pandemic and natural disasters that turned his lifestyle upside down, the one mainstay in Corby’s life proved to be creating music regardless of how that process might have looked. Now back with his third full-length offering, Everything’s Fine, finds Corby in a reinvigorated headspace, brimming with more ambition and vulnerability than ever before.
The record opens with “Problems,” a soulful, bass-led ride that takes listeners on a trip through Corby’s perception of humanity’s tendency to create needless problems. “Future generations have too many wrongs to get right / It’s resting on how many will take up the fight,” he sings over upbeat R&B-inspired rhythms. A powerful beginning, Corby created the track shortly after a series of life-altering events that saw him being forced to rebuild his home following a devastating flood.
“All of that chaos helped me not be neurotic with this album process and get to the point where I accepted things,” he candidly explains. “Like, I couldn’t sit and stew over how something sounded and potentially make it worse if I was needed elsewhere.” As if to imply that everything has truly been fine despite life’s lows, “Problems” is a buoyant opening that fully captures Corby’s artistic evolution, sonically priming the trajectory for the rest of the album.
To add to the themes of nature’s force and self-growth, the record’s third track, “Carry On,” touches on the sentiment of love. Layered background vocals evoke a fuller, choir-like sound that continues to flow through the entirety of the album. In the same vein, “Lover” follows suit with jazzy beats complimented by velvety horn work that warms the track. Lyrically, the ode explores the intricacies surrounding love and domesticity — something that Corby learned to slow down and absorb, heavily pulling from for inspiration. “I don’t think I was ready to make a record before this one,” he explains in regard to the lengthy gap between releases. “I wanted to learn more, feel more comfortable. You need time to fill the tank up, and live. To have spent time in the world to draw from.”
At the midpoint of Everything’s Fine is the psychedelic, synth-soaked fifth track “Big Smoke.” A Tame Impala-reminiscent groove is paired with Corby’s ethereal vocal delivery that emphasizes the fragility of life. Illuminated with bright synths, the song’s ruminative lyrics capture what he describes in a press release as “the duality of living with your vices, but being conscious of the fact they are probably not good for you.” The track also encompasses a similar ambiance to Rainbow Valley‘s “Elements,” eliciting a nod to the past.
For all of the new musical terrain explored on Everything’s Fine, other tracks such as “Mainies” and “Better Than That” harkens back to vintage Corby, replete with acoustic-driven instrumentals and stripped-back lyrics. “Mainies,” in particular, was captured on an iPhone and offers a down-to-earth vibe with the sound of distant waves crashing on the shoreline acting as a symbol of tranquility. In “Better Than That,” Corby reflects on his life journey following a health scare. It was also one of the first songs written for the album. He explains, “sometimes I have those moments when you realize: well I’m still breathing, you still have the gift of life, so everything is fine I guess?”
The album’s title track draws it all to a close with weeping strings that transition into lo-fi beats. A gleaming sense of acceptance courses through the track as the singer audibly achieves peace in the face of adversity. “Don’t freak out about the future / It’s beyond ya,” he sings reassuringly. It’s not only an optimistic finale but a prime example of Corby’s flexibility as a composer.
An ushering in of a new era, Everything’s Fine is at large a musing on life’s highs and lows that builds on Corby’s foundational sound and delves deeper into his eclectic roots. By fusing elements of funk and melodic rock, the singer-songwriter creates an atmosphere that is a mirror image of his new perspective on life in the present. The raw emotional power of Everything’s Fine stems from its willingness to embrace life with open arms, proving that contentment can be found in every moment. “I’m at a really beautiful point in my life,” Corby says of the album’s resonant motifs. “I’m accepting all this stuff: the good and the bad, but particularly the bad. Which is kind of great. It’s a good thing to come to that point. Life isn’t always magical, but the moments that are, well, you really value them.”