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Music

Matt Berry releases a new single featuring Emma Noble

Matt Berry is many things: he’s a raconteur, a writer, a rockstar, a creative. During an interview with Far Out, Berry explained that he views himself as equal parts songwriter and actor. “I’m so grateful to be able to do both,” he said. “To make my albums, and to act as a fool. And if you do something long enough, people realise that it isn’t a joke. I mean, there’s a record label involved, it would be unfair on them to bring them into a long, drawn out joke”. 

Gather Up, his recent compendium, is an exhibition of his versatility and talent as a performer, putting together a compilation of urgency, romance, resonance and aspiration. His albums are formidable, but it’s as a singles writer where his uniqueness truly shines.

‘Beatmaker’, his most recent work, is a duet with British soul vocalist Emma Noble and was heard on the opening episode of Toast of Tinseltown. The song is not an original tune, but a makeover of a Doris (the Swedish singer) composition. Together, the duo pick up the funk, delivering a punchy pop piece that only adds to the show’s cabalistic aesthete.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Toast of Tinseltown (or, Toast of London, as it was known in 2015), the show concerns the exploits of a haughty, underachieving actor, who spends most of his energy recording voiceovers in the presence of two madly dressed producers. At the close of the first episode of the rebooted series, Steven Toast finds himself flying to America, where warmer climes and better job offers await him. “Even I have heard of ‘The Star War’,” he purrs over the phone. Will he get the part?

Naturally, Berry plays the lead, and he also serves as the composer for the series. Former Father Ted writer Arthur Matthews worked with Berry on the scripts. In 2018, Matthews hinted at the possibility of a Father Ted musical, although as of January 2022, it has not been produced.

Back to ‘Beatmaker’: The song is a triumph of urgency, lacing the drama of Noble’s vocals with a series of shimmering guitar licks. The song feels like it could have been cut in the ’70s, and the density of the track holds true to the decade it is aiming to emulate. Indeed, it’s a worthy addition to the Berry catalogue. Acid Jazz has announced the single for immediate digital release. A limited picture sleeve 7-inch will be released in March, complete with an instrumental B-side.

Stream the track, below.