Matt Maltese - 'Krystal'

7/10

When singer Matt Maltese released his debut album 'Bad Contestant' last year, it was the culmination of more than a year of hype. The comical and refreshing frontman was being pipped as the logical successor of acts such as The Divine Comedy and Father John Misty, regularly using humour to highlight the diverse array of life choices he wished to sing about. But after little more than a year away, he has now returned with his second studio LP 'Krystal', a record that pushes the comedy more into the background as he aims to make some more serious points this time around.

While the aesthetic and sonic sound of this new collection remains firmly grasped by his light and breezy approach, the running theme of this new release is heartbreak and so he is feeling far more vulnerable and alone than he did on his initial full-length. Yet set against the SoCal-inspired dream-pop that penetrated 'Bad Contestant', 'Krystal' is looking to appear as a positive continuation to his last record on the outset, almost highlighting the fact that while a heartbroken individual may not be feeling the same inside anymore, they are trying their best to appear as if nothing has changed at all.

This wonderful juxtaposition of emotions remains a constant thread on 'Krystal' and makes for an instantly enticing listen from the very start. It may not have many of the same jolly jinx of his debut, but delivers a strong and succinct collection of ideas that continue to push his sound forward, and create a fresh and different enough release.

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