‘madhouse’ EP From South London’s Matt Maltese Out Now
August 7, 2020 BY Nettwerk
Today, 23-year-old south London artist Matt Maltese has released his new EP madhouse via Nettwerk. The EP’s two previously released tracks “hi” and the EP’s lead single “queen bee” – which featured The Lemon Twigs’ Brian D’Addario on guitar and Sorry’s Asha Lorenz on vocals – have been widely praised by the likes of Dork, DIY, NME, So Young and The Line of Best Fit, amongst others. The two tracks have also seen radio support from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6 Music, Radio X, and more.
The madhouse EP follows Matt Maltese’s sophomore album Krystal, released in 2019 to widespread critical acclaim. A similarly home-brewed affair to his previous outing, Maltese took on most of the production duties on madhouse – with additional contributions coming from Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Whitney, Father John Misty), who produced Maltese’s 2018 debut record Bad Contestant, and Ben Baptie (Rex Orange County).
The EP has received warm reviews already with Dork handing it 4* in their latest issue, adding “In the Matt Maltese cinematic universe, details are everything.” Gigwise said: “Maltese steps it all the way down for a dreamy, sixties-inflected ballad that sings with the nostalgia of The Beach Boys and twinkles with synth keys”. While Music Week added “There’s no stopping Matt Maltese and his wonky DIY pop music” and CLASH went one further saying, “He takes simple throwaway thoughts and dresses them in lavish costume, he puts them centre stage and luminates them as the stars of his production.”
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR TITLE TRACK “madhouse” NOW:
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 followup 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 pas.t” Krystal emerged 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 hookups 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.”
Matt Maltese – madhouse EP
1. little person
2. queen bee
5. leather wearing AA
6. sad dream