Those Words – Mattiel

This has come up more than once. Mattiel Brown is a big star in our house. This band make pop music, which at the same time is also indie rock. It’s clean a clear and without a smidge of distortion or the stench of poser about it. The songs are clearly about something, and yet they can be universally applied to almost any situation. Mattiel herself and the band don’t throw themselves into the commercialism of the enterprise so much as they turn up to have a low key good time when making promos, playing live or posing for album cover photo shoots. I’ve got them in the same bag as St. Vincent, Soccer Mommy, Sharon Van Etten, Haim, White Reaper and Fiona Apple, yet somehow when it comes to picking from the bag, Mattiel come out on top and most often for me. Goes down well along side The Beths and Sleater Kinney.

Pop music as a genre which is just below rock in the rauchous messiness stakes but still clearly about being catchy, whistleable often happy music. Seems more subversive than it should. In the hyper contextualised, over saturated market of genres, tropes, styles and cross overs, just happy to be here and play some songs you wrote with your friends is a whole deal.

That Standing On The Back Of A Horse debut album got our attention early on. Count You Blessings especially. The follow up record Satis-factory was a deeper dive and delivered us the Keep The Change and Populonia. Things were shaping up nicely. During lock-down my (home cut) hair got blown back by the double whammy cover version single they put out which featured a tune originally by The Clash and a Beastie Boys track. You’ve got to have some sand to try and cover The Beastie Boys. They did a great job. I loved it.

Those Words is another ear worm mid-tempo bopper. It’s got a nice line in skeptical lyrics delivered in a most upbeat fashion. Mattiel is unblinking in her delivery while she doubts every single word she’s hearing in this imaginary one sided conversation made song.

“Who’s to say it’s true or false? I’ll take it with a grain of salt when I hear it, yeah when I hear it”

There’s a chiming riff which gets a middle eight breakdown moment to stand out over the mid groove bass line and beats with a real lightness of touch. It’s safe to say this even and cool delivery is not mincing about on the subject. Mattiel is tired of your shit (not you, whom ever the song is about. I’m sure you’d all get along just fine) and isn’t prepared to play along with any more nonsense.

“How many minutes will it cost and how many hours have I lost trying to so hard to keep you from taking my time away?”

It would appear from the video that the band seems to have gone a little round the twist during the pandemic. They’re positively dripping with irony and daftness as they play up to all the types of promo-video tropes they have actively avoided to this point. Is this song about The Biz? There are many times with songs of this ilk when they are. This could be a line in the sand for a fibbing Lothario or it could just be about social media. It’s so hard to tell, but so easy to relate. There’s myriad outrageous costume changes, lousy green screen effects and dead eyed stares to camera in the promo. Meanwhile the chorus of

“What a silly thing to do on a Sunday, while I’m drinking my coffee outside in the hall way”

becomes instantly hummable. I’m writing this on a Sunday feeling pretty silly myself with all this opinionizing. What can I say about this song except I like it and I think you might too. So here’s a link to it.

“Those words don’t mean much”

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