On Matt Maltese’s debut album, it feels like he’s finally letting us in on the joke, allowing us to view the world from his unique perspective. There have been a whole lot of Father John Misty comparisons appearing, which aren’t wildly inaccurate, but they can feel like they’re selling Maltese short.
Beginning as an ode to forlorn love, it eventually turns into a spotlight on the apocalyptic, rife with cutting lyricism that feels as witty as it does vulnerable. The gentle but persistent nature of the music, from the raw, driving bass of "Greatest Comedian" to the plucky sounds of "Like A Fish", often acts as a juxtaposition for the stark verbal realism.
It's not all doom and gloom though. "Guilty" is a joyous, momentum-building number relying on a combination of startling revelations. Lines like "I tried horse tranquilliser just to impress her", and the playful addition of choral accompaniments during the chorus create a playful atmosphere that's impossible to hate.
The grand finale of "Mortals" swiftly brings things to a close. Maltese's world-ending piano ballad describes us, mere mortals, looking up at the sky, wishing we'd bothered to try harder to care for the world. This stark realisation is a complete left turn away from the album's love-driven beginnings. Just as the track begins to descend into sonic chaos, a barrage of menacingly struck strings, and a cacophony of noise - silence hits. And humanity is gone.
Everything Maltese conveys feels like a direct connection to the mind that bore it. It feels filterless, and with the music playing its part perfectly, we're all privy to the cool, calm and collected, swooning and crooning, world that Matt Maltese sees. And we're all the better for it.