Release Date: Jun 8, 2018
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
It’s easy to be suspicious of Matt Maltese. He’s seemingly appeared from nowhere with the full force of Atlantic’s PR budget behind him (although he’s actually been releasing songs since 2016), he specialises in arch, witty pop and has been compared by more than a few people to Father John Misty, and his Twitter bio describes his genre as “Brexit pop”. So do we need yet another ironic pop star playing a character and casting a sideways glance at relationships? Well, it turns out that, when they’re as talented as Matt Maltese, we certainly do.
The schmaltz never halts on this superb debut from the 21-year-old Reading crooner Last month, NME attempted to answer a very important question: what exactly is schmaltzcore? The answer, it transpired, is the sound being championed by a young brigade of sensitive pop piano wizards who are crafting soul-bearing jazz ballads for a new generation. And, while it’s been responsible for the emergence of Tom Misch and Rex, Orange County, Matt Maltese might just prove to be the scene’s greatest offering to date. On ‘Bad Contestant’, the 21-year-old creates a stunning debut that is packed with wisdom beyond his tentative years, and lyrics filled with scathing humour at every turn.
Matt Maltese reflects on his personal life through gloom-tinted spectacles, dismissing today's world through a series of anti-love songs. The reality is, this record presents the depressing aspects of both modern society, and the author's love life, fairly accurately. However, despite dumping gloom and doom onto his listeners through imagery of an instant apocalypse and hopeless romance, Maltese leaves you with a smile on your face.