Mattiel - Mattiel - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mattiel - Mattiel

by Carrie Grayson Rating:7 Release Date:2018-07-13
Mattiel - Mattiel
Mattiel - Mattiel

With a voice that elicits images of an original female super power, Mattiel Brown offers an album of raucous retro rock and soul, balanced with a gritty contemporary lean. Mattiel is a vocalist who commands her honest lyrics with authority and confidence, perhaps a product of growing up an only child on a 5 acre farm in rural Georgia. Heavily influenced by her creative mom and her mom’s somewhat limited album collection of Donovan, Peter Paul and Mary, and The Monkees, she found a musical sanctuary. Later, as she learned to drive, her car stereo was filled with the sounds of Jack White, and on those solo rides to work, she learned to hone and strengthen her voice, by singing along and dissecting parts of each song. Despite a successful career as an advertising designer for MailChimp, set builder, and illustrator, Mattiel continues to return to music and balances her writing, recording, and touring with her other creative talents.

Releasing her self titled debut album, Mattiel, through Burger Records last fall, she garnished some influential fans. Heavenly Recordings caught wind of her powerful vocal sound and will reissue the release in the UK on July 6th.

The self-titled album is meant for movement, and it would be a tough dare to hold completely still while listening. Not only is her voice a cornerstone for each song, the popping percussions, guitar strum depth, la-la choruses, and the entrance of horns on occasion, make the music timeless. Because of the album’s stretch to a past musical era, each song has a foundation of early rock and roll with leading guitars and a simple dance rhythm beat. It lends itself perfectly for mixing up a long summer vacation drive...rolling down windows, singing-along, and dashboard drumming.

Despite the musical reach into the past, the lyrical tone is one of modernity packed with perception, tenacity, and action. From the gun slinging tune, “Whites of Their Eyes,’ to the absolute of “Not Today,” and the syonara of “Bye Bye,” each expresses a strength and open ability to no longer take the passenger seat. Clearly on the front lines, the driver seat, and the helm of life, Mattiel sends a powerful message while dressing it in catchy toe-tapping, retro rock. As the songwriter and frontwoman, Mattiel is taking the reins to create, and this album suggests strength and influence in an important time where women work incredibly hard to be heard. The strong feminist perspective in the lyrics allows little room for any control or manipulation. She is making a powerful statement subtly hidden in finger snapping, hand clapping tunes. The cover photo for the album mirrors her powerful aura perfectly by her strong presence displaying, fortitude, balance, and self assuredness as she stands casually poised on a beautiful white horse.

On the striking track, “Five and Tens”, Mattiel channels Jack White with sassy vocals and more modern guitar work than the other retro tracks. But, despite its difference, it is a welcome addition to the album, mixing up the gritty retro style of the rest, while providing stellar guitar riffs and percussion exclamations. “Five and Tens” keeps the listening relevant and not repetitive. Sadly, it is the shortest song on the album, barely over two minutes. “Count Your Blessings” is another winning tune with anthemic possibilities. It features a twangy electric guitar, an echoey haunting voice, and brassy horn crescendos. Written while seeking the resilience and spirit to get through a difficult illness, “Count Your Blessings” reminds us all to focus on the positive. With relatable lyrics and an engaging catchy chorus, this shiny tune is truly a fist pumping, high five moment and worthy of radio time.

Mattiel’s voice is a driving force and stands out over the instruments in every song throughout the album. She clearly belts out the music, while occasionally cloaked in haze and voice effects. With many of the songs seeming like an old western shoot ‘em up companion, 60’s doo wop, or possibly a theme from James Bond, she embraces a specific style not usually appreciated by the masses. It is a distinctive album speaking her creative musical conviction, but its old school undertones, in a world of experimental music and sound exploration, could narrow her audience and may get lost to buzz worthy listeners. However, her extraordinary vocal talent is the focal point of each track.

For a debut, this is a punch of sweet, retro rock mastery. Mattiel seems driven and motivated to create, and is an artist to watch, for fans of traditional guitar work and powerful vocals. With the ears of the UK anticipating her release, perhaps she can bring aboard a new set of loyal listeners appreciating her brazen, unapologetic tone.

 

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