by ELI KEITH
Matty released his latest album “K.I.S.S.” this past Friday, Sept. 15. The album marks the softcore, quiet-noise artist’s seventh album since 2018.
Matthew Tavares, who goes by his first name as a solo artist, also helped found the band BADBADNOTGOOD in 2010 along with Alexander Sowinski, who plays drums, and Chester Hansen, the bassist. As a result, Tavares has been involved in the production of fine beats for quite some time, and“K.I.S.S.” marks one of the Ontarian’s most naked and acoustic endeavors yet.
Matty’s debut solo album, “Déjàvu,” which came out in 2018, was a decisive establishing moment of his solo career both in its lasting popularity and its breadth of instrumentation. In this album, the orchestral talents Matty brought to BADBADNOTGOOD were front and center, but the artist has moved from one space to another in his releases since, stretching the conception of his art.
The album delivers eight tracks across 24 minutes, which is refreshingly efficient, and his solo discography is defined by its well-rounded documentation of an artist who never stops exploring.
“K.I.S.S.” is raw and seems like a notebook of letters to a loved one that you wouldn’t share with anyone else. These songs carry a universally recognizable longing that exists in all kinds of relationships, though, and their applicability to so many kinds of love is one of the most compelling powers of the album. Matty sings through all of the emotions that love elicits with lines like, “I want to remember all my yesterdays in your arms” and “I love you, even when I’m afraid.” He pinpoints exact details of complex emotions and speaks to an incredible range of listeners’ experiences in doing so.
“It feels good to be loved one more day, and it feels good when we’re feeling the same,” he sings in “In Your Arms.” Through each song, Matty seems to say that love is love and in many respects is always the same: sharing a feeling of care for each other.
One of the most intriguing parts of this album’s musical design is that about half of the songs are named in all-caps, such as “IT’LL BE OKAY,” two others have title capitalization and a third is all lowercase. It is not often that an artist uses several different cases for song titles in the same album, as the capitalization or lack thereof has become a question of aesthetic since streaming has become the dominant form of listening.
On top of the capitalization of the titles, the acronym that labels the album is a mystery as well. “K.I.S.S.” is commonly known to stand for “Keep it simple, stupid,” and while Matty may not have had that message in mind, the conflicts of overthinking and getting in your own way are found throughout the album. “I won’t be someone else; I won’t go and hate myself; you don’t know me, you know yourself,” he sings on “SIGHS.” Here, Matty provides comfort as he gives voice to the feeling of reckoning your own identity against the people you’re close with when there are serious disagreements.
The final song, “That’s All I Wanna Do,” is very similar to the opening song “when i’m afraid,” and together they’re the softest songs on the album. The latter feels very confessional and low on hope, opening the album on a vulnerable and desperate note. While the closing song retains all of the vulnerability and openness, optimism is palpably restored in his tone. “Lay my head down beside yours, that’s all I want to do,” Matty insists in a whispery voice. The later verses have two partners lying together again, seemingly experiencing a difficult time, and, in the final verse, Matty introduces the concept of death, where “to sleep forever beside you, that’s where I wanna lay.”
“K.I.S.S.” continues Matty’s track record of specialized albums. His previous release to this one, “EIS O HOMEM,” came out earlier this year and was largely instrumental, fast-paced and in Spanish. He has also released “Arkive” on Spotify, which offers 88 songs over five and a half hours of beats and demos from his backlog. One of the most endearing things about Matty as an artist is how he follows his interests and willingly deviates from his established styles in order to enter a new realm.