If punk music is about placing the importance of playing with feeling above virtuosity, to transmit raw emotion, then Pretty Matty’s pop-laced songs shorten the distance between player and listener even more. What the eponymous EP, self-released in March of 2018, brings to the table is a softness hidden in sarcasm; a desire for closeness among empty human relationships. How very 2018.
Hook after hook, you might think songs about shallow social interactions would make you feel morose, but you bounce right along. This album was recorded with care, but still holds the necessary grit of the underground. He’s like what Green Day would sound like with less money… in a good way. Driven by distorted guitars, none of the four songs pass the 3-minute mark (“Oh Well” is 1:20 long). The theory nerd in me digs Matty’s use of key change from the root to the sixth in “Right Through,” like Blondie uses in “One Way or Another.” I might steal that.
Montreal-born Matthew Morand has a background in alternative rock with the band Lychi, based out of Windsor, Ontario. His new solo project proves an effective outlet for expressing what I wouldn’t personally associate with punk, or punk-sounding music, at all. The content of genres innovated by youth typically reflects the rebellion and energy that comes with it. His is a rebellion with softness; he sings about unhealthy, one-sided friendships. Matty is himself; what he is, is just something different than what you might think of old-school punk or punk-rock revival. Through these songs, he shows that he has learned through navigating the bitter waters of disappointing social interactions as a modern youth the hard way that shrinking to accommodate others will not make you happy. It just leaves you small. At least we can sing while he comes to terms with the things that make us jaded and selfish!
I can see myself dancing to his band at a live show on a humid Friday night with a bunch of hipster kids in pink I’ve never met. Montreal folks, be sad with me; we just missed his gig at La Vitrola in March. The red cassette from his EP launch looks beautiful, too.
Dear Pretty Matty, won’t you share your ice cream?
Written by Hanorah
*edited by Danielle Kenedy