Emily Pirie reviews Matt Maltese’s latest album
For four weeks Matt Maltese has been flirting with his listeners. With the release of ‘Curl Up & Die’, ‘Rom-Com Gone Wrong’, ‘Jupiter’ and ‘When You Wash Your Hair’, his new album could not be released into the world any quicker. On 8th November, the wait proved to be worth it. For Krystal is a dreamy picture of heartbreak that is at times both devastating, yet also darkly humorous. A year after his album Bad Contestant, a new Matt Maltese is back. Or one could say, a Matt Maltese that is returning to his roots.
In his newest album, Maltese has left his sardonic voice and shaved head behind. With his new flowing locks, Maltese opens up to his listeners, wearing his heart on his musical sleeve. Similar to ‘Even If It’s a Lie’ from 2015, in which he shows his vulnerable side, in ‘Krystal’ we again see Matt’s sensitivity. In ‘Curl Up and Die’ Matt adopts the position of Vincent Van Gogh, who would ‘cut off’ his ear for his beloved. We are provided with a similar snapshot of intimacy in ‘When You Wash Your Hair’, which is an evocative song that shows the subject as being “calm and naked”.
Maltese has not lost sight of the age that he is living in
In comparison with Bad Contestant, Krystal is more stripped back and relaxing. We no longer hear multiple backing singers. Instead, Matt’s higher-pitched voice can be heard more prevalently. Many of the songs take on a minor key that appears quite surreal, especially ‘Human Remains’. As the song prevails we hear Matt’s descent into insanity, as he starts off recurrently watching the “same old moon” and then realising that he has “gone insane”. The song shows how painful the longings of love are, whilst being realistic and humorous.
For those of you that listen to Matt to incite a swaying of the hips, do not fret, for Krystal has some funky songs that will put a spring in your step. ‘Jupiter’ is upbeat, fun and features Matt’s razor-sharp wit. In the first verse, we enter Matt’s dreamy headspace as he imagines being in the car with the object of his affection, who is no longer with their partner. Matt openly expresses his desires and longings, stating “I want you like a dog wants a dog” and how he would “even be an ulcer” in their “mouth”. These images are both evocative and hilarious. Matt’s fun sense of humour comes across in his music video for ‘Rom-Com Gone Wrong’, a video that shows Matt talking to a tree, whilst looking suave in his leather jacket and polo neck – a classic Matt Maltese aesthetic.
Maltese has not lost sight of the age that he is living in, for Krystal is also a comment on the changing climate we are surrounded by. ‘Tall Buildings’ highlights how polluted cities have become and how they are made up of “tall buildings” that are “blowing in the deadly breeze”. Matt shows how in these cities it is hard to “breathe”, his voice being accompanied by the sounds of traffic in the background.
Although it is a shorter album, Krystal is one not to be missed this year. For anyone who is going through a break-up, there are songs that will sympathise with those feelings of suffering and irrationality. At the same time, one will not be able to resist boogying to some songs within the album, preferably wearing a leather jacket and a polo neck.