Matt Maltese

SKU: 067003653718

Barcode: 067003653718

13.00 £13.00
  • Genre: Rock And Pop
  • Label: Nettwerk
  • Released Date: 7th August 2020
  • Buying Format:
    12" EP/Mini Album

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Themes like the banality and loneliness of life have consistently weighed heavy on 23 year old London artist Matt Maltese’s records. Heck, his 2018 debut album Bad Contestant contains a song so impossibly on-the-nose for our present end-of-times situation, the dystopian ‘As The World Caves In’, it could have been written in isolation two weeks ago rather than two years back.

In the process of moving our lives online, things have a funny way of coming back around anyway; the song has undergone a major resurgence, ringing true for a new legion of young fans on TikTok where it soundtracks dozens of new videos each day and has contributed to Maltese reaching an audience bigger than ever before on streaming platforms. Right in the nick of time. Maltese’s acclaimed 2019 follow up Krystal proved more of a reckoning with the self than its dazzling, witty big brother; a sort of mental stock check and a shedding of old skin, in more subtle ways than simply growing out his immediately recognisable shaved haircut.

Returning from a solo tour of the USA in March 2019, and undergoing a split with his then girlfriend, Maltese found his world getting smaller. He needed to hit reset. What followed was months of writing and recording in his south London bedroom, as well as a good deal of, as he puts it, “stewing in the past”. Krystalemerged from that period of quiet contemplation; an album that saw him “daydreaming about and grieving the important people and moments I’ve had in my life, and getting swamped in the details”.

Again, feelings that are so far, so very 2020. Fast forward to the tumultuous present day and Maltese has harnessed a common feeling of collective solitude once more. His appropriately-titled new EP Madhouse isn’t just a score for the everyday boredoms we encounter, it’s a musing on us human beings’ “ever-hopeful quest for meaning and love.” A more virtuous and lofty aspiration, at least while Tinder’s hook ups are out the window for the time being. Maltese has always nailed lonesome provocations with idiosyncratic dry wit but Madhouse reckons with those emotions in a way the half British, half Canadian hasn’t yet fully explored until now. “I’ve found that sometimes the majority of the emotional journey of love and life is actually the search for an understanding of it.

And these songs try and make peace with all of that, poke fun at it and, ultimately, embrace it. ”Take the woozily enchanting opener ‘Hi’, for instance, which instantly captures the feeling of reaching out for someone or something to love; all muted drum machines, trademark starry pianos and sensitive, longing lyrics about brushing thighs, offset with the wry desire to “be the French to your fries.” It’s vintage Matt Maltese; ravishing, tongue-in-cheek, and of course, quietly, devastatingly romantic. ‘Leather Wearing AA’ on the other hand is “a song about the kind of all-encompassing terrible love, where you’re sucked into feeling something you don’t necessarily want to feel about someone you don’t necessarily want to feel it for. But you do and that’s that.” Set to bruisingly simple beats and gently finger-picked guitars, it delivers a suitably jarring gut-punch effect as the EP’s opening double-salvo. ‘Little Person’, meanwhile, showcases the deeply reflective vocals that Maltese first fostered on Bad Contestant, reinterpreting the masterful Jon Brion’s 2008 song, which featured on Synecdoche, New York, a bizarre and beautiful Charlie Kauffman film. Described by Maltese as “one of my favourite songs of all time,” in this new arrangement, it feels a surprising and fitting counterpart to Maltese’s own 2016 breakthrough single: the haunting, intensely pretty ‘Strange Time’. Madhouse, like its predecessor Krystal, is another home birth -largely produced by Maltese himself, but with contributions from Bad Contestant producer Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Whitney, Father John Misty) and Ben Baptie (Rex Orange County), plus The Lemon Twigs’ Brian D’Addario’s guitar and Sorry’s Asha Lorenz’s vocals on ‘Queen Bee’.

Its two singles are strung together in tandem -the title track ‘Madhouse’ and aforementioned lead single ‘Queen Bee’; the latter being a song about finding “true love”, a perfectly balanced tug of war between the cynical and the soppy sides of the brain, while the former nails suburban life and the “strange emotional relationships we can form with objects and place… how objects and places can make us feel good, strange or empty inside.” Lord knows we have seen enough of our own bedrooms lately. Closer ‘Sad Dream’ rounds off neatly, zoning in on the precious first few seconds of each day when you wake up and don’t remember everything bad that’s happening around you.

Written around the time of Krystal, the track finally finds its spiritual home on the Madhouse EP. Matt Maltese, as ever, right on the money. Whether he intended to be or not.

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Track Listings

Side A
1. Little person
2. Queen Bee
3. Hi

Side B
1. Madhouse
2. Leather Wearing AA
3. Sad Dream

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